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Different Forms of Practical Training in the Philippines Part 1: Apprenticeship & Learnership, D

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” - Goethe

Workplace training, more commonly known as “on-the-job” or OJT Training, serves as a vital component of senior high school and college curriculum. While it primarily aims for the integral development of the student especially in terms of practical skills, it also paves a way for companies to develop human capital specific to their production technology.[1] Customarily, it involves students applying for a position in a company related to their respective tracks or courses, receiving minimal allowance on the principle that their primary compensation is the proficiency that is being imparted on them. Legally however, there are several forms of practical training, some of which are aiming not only for the advancement of the competence of the student, but also for providing them with financial assistance with the intervention of the relevant government agency. This article shall examine the various forms of practical training based on existing laws.

Apprenticeship and Learnership

The most common form of practical training involves either an apprenticeship or learnership agreement between the trainee and the company. Apprenticeship and learnership, however, are entirely different concepts despite both being rooted on the principle of practical on-the-job-training.

Apprenticeship involves training on the job supplemented by related theoretical instructions in highly technical industries.[2] Meaning, it involves the application of advanced technology.[3] A good example of which are the apprenticeship programs for aircraft and automobile mechanics. Learnership, on the other hand, involves training in semi-skilled industries which need not be supplemented by related theoretical instructions.[4] It is only available for non-apprenticeable jobs, and only when no experienced workers are available.[5] An example of which are the learnership programs for hairdressing and cosmetics. Both, however, are under the direct supervision of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and employers seeking to perfect learnership and apprenticeship agreements must secure the approval of the TESDA beforehand.

Apprentices must be at least 15 years of age. However, those 15 to 18 years of age maybe eligible only for non hazardous occupations.[6] No similar age requirement is prescribed for learners. However, the number of learners in an establishment must not exceed 20% of the total regular workforce.[7] Furthermore, the employer is obliged to hire the learner after the lapse of the learnership period.[8] No similar obligation is imposed for apprenticeship agreements despite having a longer duration of training of more than 3 months but not over 6 months, as opposed to the duration of training for learnership agreements which is capped at 3 months.

As recompense for the skills and experience imparted on the trainees, the law allows the employers of apprentices and learners to pay the latter only 75% of the statutory minimum wage.[9] Furthermore, the law permits additional deduction from taxable income amounting to 1/2 of the value of labor training expenses incurred for developing the productivity and efficiency of apprentices and learners provided that such deduction shall not exceed 10% of the direct labor wage and that the enterprise who wish to avail of this incentive should pay the apprentice and learner the statutory minimum wage.[10]

Dual Training System

Similar to apprenticeship, the dual training system combines practical and theoretical training. The main difference however is that the theoretical training takes place in an educational institution or training center, whereas the practical training takes place in an establishment.[11] This close cooperation between the school and the company ensures that the trainees are fully equipped with employable skills, work knowledge and attitude at the end of the training.[12] It is also directly supervised by the TESDA, and all dual training system agreements between the school and the establishment must be approved by the said government agency.

The law expressly provides that for the duration of the training, the student shall not be considered as an employee but shall be treated as a trainee of both the accredited educational institution and the concerned business establishment.[13] However, the business establishment is mandated to provide the trainee with an allowance at a rate not lower than 75% of the applicable minimum wage.[14] Furthermore, prior consultation with the union of the concerned business establishment is compulsory in the preparation of the Dual Training System Training Plan.[15]

To encourage the participation of establishments in the Dual Training System, participating establishments are allowed to deduct from their taxable income the amount of 1/2 of the actual system expenses paid to the Accredited Dual Training System Educational Institution for the establishment’s trainees, provided that such expenses shall not exceed 5% of the total direct labor expenses and in no case shall it exceed P 25 M a year.

JobStart Program

A fairly new program implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in coordination with the Local Government Unit’s Public Employment Service Officer (PESO) in order to boost the employment rate, is the JobStart Program. More than providing practical training, it aims to provide “full cycle employment facilitation services” to “at risk youth” to improve their integration into productive employment.[16] Hence, it consists of three phases:

(I) the JobStart Life Skills Training which lasts for 10 days,

(II) the JobStart Technical Training which lasts for 3 months, which can be skipped if

the employer recommends with the approval of PESO and

(III) the JobStart Internship which is for a period of 3 months.[17]

The program is only open to Filipino citizens aged 18-24 years old who have at least reached high school level and is currently unemployed, enrolled or undergoing training at the time of registration without any work experience or have less than 1 year of accumulated work experience.[18] Similar to the Dual Training System, the law explicitly provides that enrollees of the program shall not be considered as an employee of the participating business establishment.[19] However, interns shall receive internship stipend amounting to not less than 75% of the minimum wage.[20] Furthermore, trainees shall consist of only a maximum of 20% of the total workforce of the company.[21] In order to encourage establishments to participate in the program, the law provides that employers shall receive an amount per month per JobStart trainee to cover administration cost in managing the trainee.[22]

Check Part 2 next week to learn about Work Immersion Program for Senior High School and Special Program for Employment of Students!

Christian Andrew Labitoria Gallardo recently graduated with a degree of Juris Doctor at the Ateneo School of Law and is currently an associate of the Sangalang & Gaerlan, Business Lawyers. You may reach him at


[1] Futoshi Yamauchi, Taejong Kim, Kye Woo Lee and Marites Tiongco, The Impact of On-The-Job Training on Employment and Earnings Dual Training System in the Philippines, available at (last accessed July 9, 2019).

[2] Art 59 Labor Code of the Philippine, PD 442, as amended.

[3] §2, Rule VI, Book 2, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code.

[4] Article 74, Labor Code.

[5] § 2 Rule VII Book 2, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code.

[6] § 11 Rule VI, Book 2, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code in relation to RA 9231.

[7] Joselito Guianan Chan, Bar Reviewer on Labor Law, citing § 3, Rule VII, Book 2, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code.

[8] § 3, TESDA Circular No 16 series of 2004 and DOLE Circular No 2 Series of 2006.

[9] §61 and §75, Labor Code.

[10] § 71, Labor Code and TESDA Circular Number 16 series of 2004

[11] § 3, RA 7686 or Dual Training System Act of 1994.

[12] TESDA, The Dual Training System in the Philippines, accessible at (last accessed July 9, 2019).

[13] § 8, RA 7686.

[14] Id. § 14.

[15] Id. § 8.

[16] DOLE, About JobStart, available at (last accessed July 9, 2019).

[17] § 11, RA 10869 or JobStart Philippines Act.

[18] Id. § 5.

[19] Id. § 7.

[20] Id. § 10.

[21] Id. § 14.

[22] Id. § 18.



Christian Andrew Labitoria Gallardo is a graduating student of the Ateneo Law School. He will take the bar in 2020.

You may reach him at

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