LEAP: Enabling young people realize their dreams

MANKAYAN, Benguet - Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company this year allotted P7.3 million for its Lepanto Educational Assistance Program (LEAP) from the company’s 2016 Social Development and Management Program budget of P25 million. LEAP currently has scholars enrolled in various universities and colleges within the region taking up technical-vocational and tertiary/college degree courses.

On top of this institutionalized program, Lepanto also offers scholarships for mining related course including Mining Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering and Geology. There are five scholars to date under this educational assistance program.

LCMC also established the Lepanto Skills and Development Center, a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-accredited center to train students be proficient in basic mining skills, welding, electrical installation, among others. Students enrolled in LSDC are able to obtain national certifications.

The LSDC has produced 61 graduates in Shielded Metal Arc Welding NCII and nine in Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II. The LSDC is set to expand its courses to include cookery, housekeeping services, bread and pastry production and bartending. Flores Sacpa, a resident of Barangay Cabiten in Mankayan, Benguet, is a proud father of two LEAP graduates, Clyntt and Claire Sacpa.

Clyntt finished Agricultural Engineering and, like many other LEAP graduates, now works with Lepanto. Claire finished Bachelor of Secondary Education, Cum Laude, and now works in Baguio City. Both are helping their parents send their other siblings to school.

According to Lepanto vice president and resident manager, Engr. Thomas S. Consolacion, Lepanto’s scholarship and education programs aim to create endless possibilities for families by enabling children to finish college and get good jobs. LEAP has graduated 516 indigent students from the municipalities of Mankayan, Benguet and Cervantes and Quirino in Ilocos Sur since 2004.

On average, the LEAP has 450 to 500 college scholars every year, of whom about 100 graduate. – Joann A. Gatchalian