Partnership summary: Data upskilling for freelance workers

In the Philippines, a BPP partnership between Eskwelabs, FHMoms and the Australian Government has been equipping women freelance workers with the skills needed to obtain high-value digital work opportunities that go beyond typical administrative tasks, increasing their employability and income potential.

About the initiative

The Data upskilling for freelance workers initiative, which closed earlier this year, was one of the BPP’s COVID-19 Recovery Partnerships.

Women were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and were at risk of being left behind the digital transformation as they are under-represented in STEM-related professions. As Francine Tan, Eskwelabs Chief of Staff, said: “We believe the skills of the future should be accessible. We realised that if we’re going to contribute to the COVID recovery, the most Eskwelabs way possible would be through education.”

Eskwelabs developed the technology to provide online data upskilling services and create the educational materials and processes to onboard and upskill the learners, with a focus on women and mothers who had been impacted by COVID-19.

By teaming up with FHMoms (Filipino Home-Based Moms), the largest entrepreneurship and freelancing group for stay-at-home mothers in the Philippines, the partnership was able to connect with its network of thousands of Pinay mothers to promote the course, as well as identify employability outcomes for learners. “FHMoms is a social enterprise helping Filipino mothers to be successful in their chosen career, either as a freelancer or an entrepreneur.” explains MK Bartolo, its CEO and Founder.

The Australian Government complemented these efforts by providing guidance and access to additional support for gender empowerment, multi-stakeholder coordination, impact measurement, and economic empowerment for disenfranchised and vulnerable populations.

Mr Rollie Dela Cruz, Portfolio Manager of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, highlighted: “Digitalisation, particularly data literacy, for marginalised groups helps drive inclusive economic growth. Both Eskwelabs and FHMoms embody the value of a sustainable business, providing much-needed access to data literacy skills to empower marginalised communities. This is why we prioritised this partnership, providing funding and technical assistance to enable the partnership to innovate and make quality business solutions more accessible and affordable to Filipinos.”

Impact

The partnership navigated the challenges of COVID to deliver some great results, including:

  • A total of 3524 women enrolled in data upskilling courses supported by Eskwelabs, with the vast majority of women enrolling via FHMoms, with approximately 600 graduates.
  • There was an average 15% increase in the incomes of graduates after completing the training, with the majority of those from the lowest income bracket.
  • Graduates reported high levels of satisfaction with the training delivered by Eskwelabs.

Importantly, the partnership provided many non-financial benefits to graduates, with participants sharing that they gained:

  • Self-confidence through learning new skills.
  • Strength, connection and empowerment by being part of a nurturing community throughout their learning experience.
  • Curiosity and inspiration to pursue even more study opportunities.

“For us to see that these women now believe in themselves more, have more self-trust and actively cheer for one another, that’s our business success. When you are able to change the mindset of someone – so that they feel that they can achieve their goals – that’s transformative for the rest of their lives,” said Francine Tan, Eskwelabs Chief of Staff.

What’s next?

While the BPP partnership between Eskwelabs, FHMoms and the Australian Government is complete, Eskwelabs and FHMoms are continuing to work together, and are currently exploring further opportunities to work with DFAT.

Eskwelabs remains committed in its mission to provide opportunities for Filipinos who lack the ability to pay for skills training. Following a brand refresh to mark their five-year anniversary this year, Eskwelabs is looking to replicate its value-based education model into new areas, including AI, and with other types of partners. For example, building on its work with the BPP partnership, Eskwelabs was also able to secure a partnership with Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) in late 2023. This new partnership secures a pathway to employment and income growth for disadvantaged populations and will support sustainability of the initiative beyond the life of the BPP.

Check out some the participants’ testimonials

 

Watch a short film about the partnership journey

🔍 Find out more about the partnership.

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