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Monday, January 25, 2010

The School of Dreams

The school of dreams
Top News
Business Mirror
Written by Paul Atienza / Correspondent
Saturday, 23 January 2010 18:50

Photo by Roy Domingo



The relative ease with which the Philippines “survived” the 2008-09 global economic crisis has been partly attributed by experts to certain buoyant and resilient subsectors in services, as well as the steady flow of remittances from millions of overseas Filipino workers, despite the fact that thousands of them lost their jobs in host countries hit by the crisis.

The continued, albeit moderate, growth of business-process outsourcing and the tourism-and-hospitality industry are often cited as examples of how niching in some areas can benefit a small and weak country. Yet few people realize that the performance of the service sector rests substantially on the supply of trained manpower who can compete in often quickly-changing business environments here and abroad.

One such unsung “hero” in this equation has been quietly training thousands of young, ambitious Filipinos to meet the steady demand for trained personnel in tourism services, and the hotel-and-restaurant industry. That it has deliberately targeted the underprivileged youth has given its mission of nearly three decades the added value of helping ease poverty in both rural and urban centers.

One sunny morning, we toured one of the five training centers nationwide of the Foundation for Professional Training Inc. (FPTI) called Anihan on a 526-square-meter lot in barrio Tulo, Calamba, Laguna.

Young women in white gowns were churning out a variety of goods, sold under the Anihan Goodies brand—walnut brownies and coffee bars to fruitcakes, among others—which helps sustain the scholarship program for the youths. “You will wonder how Anihan supports the program? They get it from the sales of Anihan Goodies and donations from the Anihan patrons, as well as from varied individuals and companies,” explained FPTI president Susan Manzon.

In 2008 Anihan granted full-tuition scholarships to 73 new female high-school graduates, opening up opportunities for careers in the hotel-and-restaurant industry.

With the two-year scholarship grant, the young women will obtain the three national certificates, namely, Commercial Cooking, Food & Beverages Services, and Baking/Pastry Production.

“After graduation, they will be highly employable skilled workers with competencies as hot/cold kitchen cooks, pastry cooks or bakers, food attendants, etc.,” Manzon said.


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