WHEN Secretary Joel Villanueva took over the reins of Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), one of the challenges he faced was how to convince the Filipino youth to pursue vocational and technical training as alternative courses towards a lifetime career.
He didn’t have to look farther, though, the former University of Santo Tomas Tiger only had to look back at his athletic years to come up with a program that will effectively promote Tesda in the provinces nationwide.
Eventually, Villanueva hatched his pet project which he dubbed as “Shoot for your Dream Program” with a team of Philippine Basketball Association legends making the bulk of the squad aptly named Team Trabaho.
The program was an instant hit. Wherever Team Trabaho goes, the venues are packed, full of young people cheering for the basketball legends.
“It’s very effective. Our basketball stars continue to inspire our youth to aspire for better lives as well ats live healthier and happier,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva said the Shoot for your Dream project aims “to motivate and help the Filipino youth especially out-of-school-youths (OSYs) to turn their dreams into a reality.”
“There are misconceptions about tech-voc (as low-salaried courses), I would like to correct that through this Team Trabaho program using no less than our basketball legends,” he said.
Villanueva shared that an automotive technican graduate from Tesda is now earning P200,000 a month in Australia and a welding tech graduate draws a monthly salary in Canada for P115,000.
“Tech-voc jobs are well paid abroad, that’s why we would like to change the mindset of a lot of Filipino youth and show them the opportunity at Tesda training through our Team Trabaho.”
Villanueva’s Team Trabaho has visited several cities and towns from Luzon to Mindanao. Among the basketball legends who have suited up for the team are Alvin Patrimonio, Kenneth Duremdez, Jerry Codinera, Rodney Santos, Marlou Aquino, Zaldy Realubit, Bobby Jose and his best buddy Bal David.
Unknown to many, Villanueva played elite basketball in the collegiate level. He was part of the UST Tigers, who won back-to-back titles in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines in 1994 and 1995.
He also played for the Philippine team in 1994 in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association and the PH Youth Team in the Asian Basketball Championship.
Villanueva’s athletic stint came early as he represented the National Capital Region that topped the Palarong Pambansa basketball event in 1992.
“It’s good to reminisce those days when you thought you were young and mighty. At that time, I was fast and I could even dunk the ball,” said Villanueva, who stands only at 5’7”. “But sometimes, when you try to overdo things, the body just couldn’t take it.”
While his teammates went on to seek professional careers in the PBA, Villanueva decided to pursue a higher education after completing his Economics degree.
He went to an Ivy League school at Harvard University in the US, and completed his Masters in Business Administration.
Villanueva, though, credits his professional success to his athletic training.
“I’ve learned to value hard work (in training), discipline and teamwork. Now as head of Tesda. I don’t have to shoot the ball all by myself. As a point guard in basketball, I also didn’t have to shoot the ball all by myself and had to distribute the ball effectively and make my teammates look good and produce better.”
Leading an agency like Tesda, Villanuva has been effectively practicing the art of delegation, making sure that players in the team are doing their roles effectively.
“That way, we score more points and we achieve more,” he said.