The results of the Machine Operation Course have begun to bear fruit as students still in their internship have received offers of employment from their enthused superiors. Given the choice, they can begin to build better lives for their families as soon as they graduate from the program.
Students of Tzu Chi’s Machine Operation Course (MOC) entered the program in hopes of providing a better quality of life for their families. It mattered little whether or not they have some background in the operation of lathes, presses, and drills. The promise of a lucrative salary, even more abroad, convinced them to learn for the sake of their loved ones.
A former domestic helper, 34-year-old Fairylyn Betorio didn’t think she would be in front of a lathe. And as the MOC internship program progressed, she found herself working with a computer designing plates using AutoCAD software.
“It feels great to be able to learn something new, which you thought impossible at first,” says Betorio, training at Alps Manufacturing in La Loma, Quezon City.
Her mentor at work, Gelli Conde, is surprised not only at her resolve to improve but also her conduct. “Even though I’m younger than them, the trainees still treat me as their senior,” Conde remarks.
The same surprise can be seen among other employers accepting MOC interns. Aside from their hands-on exposure to basic machine operation, the students also exhibit proper decorum toward their superiors and peers at work. This has been the result of Tzu Chi’s two-pronged approach to education, not only teaching skills but values as well.
Carlos Panega, Jr., who trains at Alps’s plant in Valenzuela City, takes the initiative to look for something to do while waiting for his superior every morning. “I clean my workstation every morning while waiting for my teacher or engineer. I check the machine for anything that can damage it like debris. If I can’t find anything to do, I ask around,” narrates Panega.
Junny John Tagyam, who oversees four interns at Cherimel Philippines in Caloocan City, is happy for the students because they enjoy the benefits of formal education.
“Even though I’m a supervisor, older hands like us, only have a high school diploma at the very least. The trainees, however, have the chance to work abroad. They’ll be able to operate a wider array of machines,” remarks Tagyam.
The MOC program will assist interested students in working abroad, namely in Taiwan where Tzu Chi has contacts with several employers who are also Tzu Chi volunteers. They'll be able to expand their knowledge in the operation of more machines, probably those that are different from the ones used in factories in the Philippines.
Some employers have even extended offers of employment to the interns upon graduation. Among those rewarded with such an opportunity is Renalyn Turallo, who only learned to operate a bending machine in the workplace. Her superiors were impressed by her quick pick-up and lauded her for meeting the standard quota within a month of the internship that they invited her to join the company’s pool of employees
“In the two to three months I spent in the Machine Operation Course, I’m very fortunate to have been absorbed. I’ve been learning a lot since coming here, especially valuable life experiences. I’m really happy,” says Turallo.
Some students still dream of working overseas to help their struggling families. But they are aware that being able to work close to home is a good stepping stone and they are grateful for this.