That being said, it was pleasant and exciting to be able to witness the launch of a vocational skills scholarship program spearheaded by Sen. Manny Villar and the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, in cooperation with the Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA), a TESDA accredited learning institution. It was held at The Coffee Beanery in West Avenue, Quezon City and apparently The Coffee Beanery is affiliated with ASHA. It was evident that ASHA students helped out in the event, and there was even a demonstration by a barista master that has won three barista competitions. The school's president and CEO, Badjie Guerrero-Trinidad was present, welcomed the first batch of scholars of the program, and even gave them a tour of the facilities. Those included among the scholars are victims of human trafficking from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, as well as farmers from Nueva Ecija who were illegally recruited to work in Cyprus.
Their advocacy is for helping victims of human trafficking and illegal OFW recruitment. Sen. Villar, Susan 'Toots' Ople (Head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute) and ASHA understands the plight of these victims, hence they launched "Skills-Up" program. The program is all about assisting and teaching these victims with skills that would enable them to find, qualify, and land a job either locally or overseas.
A glimpse of what the scholars would go through in ASHA:
- For the initial phase, scholars will be enrolled as students in a three-month course on
hotel housekeeping and baristas at the ASHA, a sister company of the Center for Culinary
Arts and The Coffee Beanery, as well as the Cravings Group of Restaurants.
- The final one and a half months of training would be paid apprenticeships at selected
restaurants and coffee shops ran by the same company.
Also in attendance were ASHA's Angie Blanco, Ricky Rivera and Veronica Navarro. Susan 'Toots' Ople of the Blas F. Ople Center was present, and was one of the event's guests speakers. Daughter of Sen. Manny Villar, Camille, was also a guest speaker and delivered an inspiring message to the scholars.