Welding might not be the first thing on a woman’s list of possible careers. It seems “too dangerous,” what with all the power tools and heavy lifting. But anything is possible for a person with grit and ambition.
Cecil Tamba, 27 years old, was a kasambahay (house helper) who aspired for a better life. She dedicated her days to supporting her family’s financial needs and finishing her studies. People doubted her abilities. According to Cecil, “Dahil nagmula ako sa isang tribu ng Blaan sa Saranggani ay madalas din akong kinukutya sapagkat hindi raw ako nababagay sa siyudad, ngunit hindi ito hadlang upang matupad ang aking mga pangarap.”
With her determination, she managed to finish high school. Cecil shares, “Noong natapos ko ang pag-aaral ko sa sekondarya siya naman ang pagdating ng isa sa masasabi kong pinakamagandang biyaya na natanggap ko, ang TESDA Women’s Center.”
Overcoming financial struggle
TESDA Women’s Center (TWC) provides free training for technical-vocational careers. The institution aims to empower Filipino women.
With the help of TWC, Cecil was able to study for free as a welding trainee in 2013. But pursuing her training was an uphill battle; she had to overcome exhaustion from studying and working at the same time. She also had to get by with her minimal income—sometimes having to walk from Parañaque to TWC in Taguig.
Despite all odds, Cecil powered through: “Madalas akong panghinaan ng loob, subalit sa tulong na financial at moral ng aking trainer at co-trainees, at sa pangarap na maiahon ang aking pamilya sa kahirapan, ay tiniis ko at pinagbuti ang aking pag-aaral . . .” Her hard work paid off; she eventually passed the National Assessment.
The rewards of tech-voc training
Many job opportunities opened up for Cecil after her training in TWC. In 2018, she landed a welding job in Japan, working with Mitsubishi auto parts and boilers. She now earns a monthly salary of 70,000 pesos. Through her earnings, she was able to buy a house and livestock, as well as put her siblings through school.
By uplifting her skills, she also proved that women can excel in “non-traditional” careers. Cecil says, “ . . . maraming tao ang natutuwa sa akin sapagkat babae man daw ako ay astig daw ako sapagkat nakayanan ko ang trabaho ng isang lalaki. Dahil sa mga natutunan ko sa TWC ay nakayanan kong makipagsabayan bilang welder hindi lang sa Pilipinas kung ‘di sa buong mundo.”
Amid her success, she has other hopes: That more Filipinos, especially women, find fulfillment through the technical-vocational education and training (TVET) industry.
Young or old, man or woman, rich or poor, you have the potential to find a successful career. The first step is to seek out learning opportunities that will help you achieve your goals.
We’re here to guide you through school and work life! Check out the Edukasyon blog for more tips and advice for your education-to-employment journey.