Vocational training in the Philippines: Recovering the hospitality sector after COVID-19

COVID-19 had a large impact on women and girls in the hospitality sector, threatening employment and vocational training opportunities.

Hospitality and tourism is a strong industry in the Philippines. However, during the pandemic over 4 million women working in hotels and food service industries saw their jobs disrupted, according to the International Labour Organisation. With our partners in the Philippines, we have provided scholarships to help women start strong careers and gradually recover the country’s economy.

The impact of COVID on women’s education in the Philippines

Following a rise of cases in the Philippines and the declaration of COVID as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, an announcement was made on the 12th March 2020 for the whole of Metro Manila to go into a month long community quarantine. The Philippines also declared a State of Calamity for the following 6 months, within which only sectors deemed essential continued to fully run. In fact, by the end of August 2020, the Philippines was acknowledged as the country with the longest lockdown. 

The uncertainty of COVID denied many their chance of being well educated when faced with economic challenges as a result of the pandemic.

At Punlaan School in Manila, staff and students faced obstacles to learning as schools were forced to close during the pandemic. Out of concern for safety, Punlaan made the decision to change temporarily to online learning to keep their educational system accessible to as many as possible.

The school addressed concerns of parents, with regards to the quality of learning for their children and the safety of phasing back in-person teaching, by holding meetings to explain the safety measures in place. This ultimately convinced many parents to allow their children to attend school and participate in On-the-Job training.

Natural disasters also created strains on communities in the Philippines. However, they came together to support one another amidst the challenges faced by the destruction of homes and parts of campus as a result of typhoons and floods. 

Transforming women’s lives through scholarships

WONDER provided scholarships for 20 young Filipina women, so that they could begin to develop strong careers following their education.

COVID had a great economic impact on these young women, which brought with it emotional, psychological and physical challenges. Along with opportunity for study, the scholarships provided nutritious food, safe transportation and secure accommodation.

Every single one of these incredible young women graduated in December 2022, and undertook a 7-month placement for their on-the-job training following their time at Punlaan school. 

The improvement in employability was outstanding, with all 20 girls with scholarships being granted a job within three months following graduation. In addition, not only do they have a strong starting salary, but they also have been granted the richness of knowing their significance and worth through 1-2-1 mentoring.

The opportunity to foster a sense of self-worth has granted each student the confidence and ability to thrive in life beyond Punlaan. Leannza, 19 years-old, said: ‘‘You gave me the strength to stand up and continue fighting again.” 

Author: Poppy Worlidge


With your support, we can continue to fight the negative impact of COVID on women’s education. 

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