MANILA, Philippines—Stressing its “commitment to the pursuit of excellence,” the Department of Public Works and Highways plans to hire the best and the brightest young civil engineers in the country.
For a start, the DPWH is setting up what it calls a 26-week “cadet engineering program,” which aims to train young civil engineers for “prospective executive positions in the department.”
The department has entered into an agreement with the First Pacific Leadership Academy, Inc., the training and leadership arm of the First Pacific Group of Companies, in conducting the program, according to DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson.
In a statement, Singson said on Wednesday, the program would help “fill up executive positions in the agency with highly qualified and professionally committed, as well as empowered individuals.”
“Thus, the need to search, select and develop young, intelligent and purpose-driven civil engineers to start their careers at DPWH,” he also said.
According to Singson, “selected cadet engineers will undergo classes for one month, covering the areas of public service, public infrastructure in the Philippines and an overview of the department and its mandate.”
“Five more months will be devoted to on-the-job training on the core functions and operations of the DPWH bureaus, namely design; research and standards; construction, equipment and maintenance; planning service; and the agency’s regional, district and project management offices,” he said.
A supplementary training program, covering professional image enhancement, customer service excellence, leadership communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and project management, among others, also await trainees.
Program applicants, preferably those with high academic backgrounds, need to pass a “very extensive recruitment and selection process,” which includes a written examination, oral interview and personality evaluation.
“This will set new entry standards for civil engineers in the public works. They have to be the best of the best engineers in the country, not any Tom, Dick and Harry being recommended by anyone,” Singson added.
Unlike the DPWH head, some department old-timers expressed doubts over his initiative.
A staff member at a DPWH project management office, who asked not to be named, said young civil engineers would most likely work abroad where they could get higher pay than join the agency or some local real estate or construction firms.
“With the current DPWH salary rates, getting the best and the brightest young engineers is easier said than done,” said another.
But “starting one’s career, if not using the department as a stepping stone may be a good idea,” opined another DPWH source.