Data upskilling for freelance workers

Data upskilling for freelance workers

COVID-19 Recovery Philippines Digitalisation and Data Completed



Partner contribution

$ 126,054

DFAT contribution

$ 125,169

Icon Total Funds

Total Value

$ 251,223

Start: August 2021 - End: January 2024


Filipina Homebased Moms

Filipina Homebased Moms is the largest entrepreneurship and freelancing group for stay-at-home mothers in the Philippines, with over 300,000 members.


Eskwelabs is a leading online data upskilling school in the Philippines, with the mission of democratizing opportunities for people and teams to thrive in the future of work.

Australian Government

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade works with international partners and other countries to tackle global challenges, increase trade and investment opportunities, protect international rules, keep our region stable and help Australians overseas.


About this partnership

Data upskilling can equip women freelance workers—who have been impacted by COVID-19— with the skills needed to obtain high-value digital work opportunities that go beyond typical administrative tasks, thereby increasing their employability and income potential. This partnership will introduce a new data upskilling course with the aim to scale and benefit more freelancers, with a focus on women.


Women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and risk being left out of the digital transformation as they are under-represented in STEM-related professions. Targeted upskilling and reskilling can create a more inclusive and diverse workforce — good for workers and crucial for thriving societies.

The business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the Philippines is the largest private employer in the country, generating about 1.3 million direct jobs in 2017 (IBPAP, 2018). However, the majority provide low to medium-skilled labour such as voice and call centre support.

COVID-19 has accelerated freelance growth with the Philippines topping the list of countries with the highest growth in the supply of freelancers at 208% in 2020. As employers believe the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lead to a shift from routine to non-routine and analytical work (ADB, 2021), it is critical to upskill workers for that future.

About the initiative

This initiative increases the number of women with higher-value data skills in the Philippines. It aims to achieve this through a low-cost mobile-based data literacy upskilling course for freelance mothers, who typically work from home. The course will be targeted at women who freelance, who typically undertake administrative jobs, to move towards higher-value work through improved data and analytics skills. The data upskilling course will be marketed through FHMoms’ network and the free model will be sustained via conversion of learners into paid programs at Eskwelabs.

Eskwelabs will develop the technology to provide online data upskilling services and create the educational materials and processes to onboard and upskill the learners. Through its existing connections with industry partners, Eskwelabs will work together with FHMoms to ensure employability outcomes for learners.

FHMoms provides access to its network of 300,000+ Pinay mothers, providing a steady stream of learners to this initiative. FHMoms will promote the value of data upskilling, facilitate connections in the community, and actively recruit freelancers to participate in the initiative.

The Australian Government’s knowledge of gender empowerment, multi-stakeholder coordination, impact measurement, and economic empowerment for disenfranchised and vulnerable populations will complement Eskwelabs’s education and technology focus, and FHMoms’s deep connection and knowledge of its users.

Hear from our partners

MK Bertulfo, FHMoms Founder and CEO

“I am hopeful about this partnership’s potential to uplift women who can uplift more women. It’s one thing to have an impact on the immediate FHMoms community members, and it’s another level entirely to empower these women to empower other women—who may not be moms—but are going through the same post-COVID work-life struggle. I am excited to see this partnership make a lasting economic and social impact on the women whom I value and believe in so much.” —MK Bertulfo (FHMoms Founder and CEO)

From left: Angela Chen, Co-founder & CEO, Caleb Tutty, Co-founder & COO and Aurelien Chu, Co-founder & CTO

“This partnership will help advance the goals of the partners to democratize opportunities in the future of work for female freelancers. The partners will deliver targeted data reskilling for women using an innovative mobile-based data literacy course that brings together the flexibility of online learning with the community-driven approach of cohort-based courses. Women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and their jobs are more vulnerable to digital transformation. So instead of allowing digital disruptions to leave vulnerable groups behind, we believe targeted reskilling is a clear way to flip the odds on career prospects for female workers in digital work.” —Eskwelabs Co-Founders

This partnership was selected through the BPP’s 2020 Call for Partnerships to support COVID-19 recovery across the Asia-Pacific. 


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