Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) – Philippines

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Summary of Policy: The Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) is an employment-bridging programme that aims to provide temporary employment to disadvantaged youth to augment their family’s income and help ensure that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education. Target groups of this programme include poor students, out-of- school youth, and dependents of displaced or would-be displaced workers. The programme responds to the President of the Philippines’ 22-Point Labor and Employment Agenda, which calls for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to work with relevant government agencies in order to enhance social protection. SPES also builds on the Emergency Community Employment Program (ECEP) to create jobs that supply young workers with income to spend on fundamental needs. SPES enhances the employability of youth, who will eventually come to be the country’s future workforce. Along with providing students with experience while earning income, SPES is designed to increase employment opportunities for young people in the long-term. SPES is mandated under Republic Act No. 10917, 9547, and 7323, with the Secretary of DOLE functioning as Program Director.

Timeline: 1992 to present


  • DOLE has established partnerships with many organizations both in the private and public
    sectors, making it easy for students to find opportunities
  • The work rendered by students is paid, making it an incentive for those of lower socioeconomic
  • The programme also includes would-be displaced workers and not only poor students and out-
    of-school youth


  • Work is limited to Christmas and summer recess
  • The students can only work for a maximum of 78 days, which may not be enough to gain
    substantial experience in a work environment
  • Out-of- school youth could be willing to work during the academic months, which further keeps them away from learning opportunities

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Considerations can be made for out-of- school youth who are willing to enter the programme
    during the academic months.
  • The financing scheme could be made more flexible. Such as allowing beneficiaries to choose
    from a number of packages (e.g. 40 per cent cash, 60 per cent education vouchers; 60-40 or 100
    per cent in cash or educational vouchers)


1. www.dole.gov.ph

2. Employment Service Program Management Division, Bureau of Local Employment, DOLE

Project Details

Date: November 18, 2017

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