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I Can Fly Program, Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific Airways Manila held its third I Can Fly Program on July 24-29, 2017. As in past years, PCCCI coordinated with and volunteered to help in this program which nurtures the passion for aviation and community service among the youth. The comprehensive program consisted of a workshop in Cathay’s head office at LKG Tower in Makati, a trip to Cathay and Cathay Dragon’s operations in Clark Airport, a tour of the NAIA 3 operations and MacroAsia, an outreach at the DSWD Research and Study Center for Children in Quezon City, and finally graduation and the awards ceremony.
20 Grade 10 students from UPIS (University of the Philippines Integrated School in Diliman) were chosen based on their written essays. The many different activities called on the students to demonstrate leadership qualities, creativity, active participation, and an over-all positive attitude. The top 3 participants were awarded with an all-expense trip to Hong Kong, where Cathay’s headquarters is based!
Read on to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity for this group of young students whose horizons expanded with this view of the aviation industry as prepared by the Marketing department of Cathay Pacific. Also see the students experience a day with less fortunate children, coming away with a greater appreciation for life!
The students were welcomed on Day 1 by Cathay Pacific Country Manager Robin Bradshaw, Mr. Mike Cheng, CX Manila Marketing and Sales Manager, and two of his vivacious staff- Anna Lee, Assistant Manager for Marketing, and Marie Elise Perez, Marketing Communications Executive, who facilitated the program. Also there were Jessica Leung, Assistant to the Country Manager/ Chief Representative for Cathay Dragon, and Grace Madrid, Executive Assistant to the Country Manager. The I Can Fly program is close to the hearts of the CX management!
Mr. Robin Bradshaw himself started the day by welcoming the students and sharing Cathay's passion for nurturing the youth's interest in aviation and its myriad opportunities. Ice breakers started the students participating actively in the day's many offerings.
All the different departments which make up Cathay Pacific were represented. Atty. Jojo Veneracion, People Manager of CX Manila, explained what the People Department, CX's human resources department, was about. He spoke to them about joining a company such as CX, and conducted a mock interview with one of the students.
The Marketing Department spoke to the participants about Cathay's slogan "A Life Well Travelled", and the students were then divided into groups to come up with a poster concentrating on different aspects of this theme. The Life Well Travelled Ambassadors- Family Group "When You Travel Well Memories Last” won this activity.
After lunch, the students were given a tour of the CX offices in the LKG Tower, which includes Cathay's ticketing office in Makati.
CX Manila's Finance Manager Mr. Dennis Corpuz shared the different tasks his department handled. He then engaged the students in a lively game of budgeting for a household, giving valuable insights in the choices the participants made. It was interesting but not surprising to see that millennials such as these students budgeted most for communication!
The Sales Department also showed a video on the responsibilities a member of their team would encounter during a typical day, and after this the student groups were tasked to come up with a sales pitch for a law firm to go to Hong Kong for their company trip, selling the Cathay Business Class as the way to go. Some of the students were truly convincing!
The students were very interested in Inflight Operations, made up of the flight attendants and flight deck crew. PCCCI member Kay Zavala Wong, presently an Inflight Service Manager, fielded questions on passenger handling, and broadened the view of the participants about what it took to be a flight attendant- the safety and security standards that needed to be met, first aid incidents, and the demanding lifestyle which balanced out the considerable perks such as seeing the world!
The day ended with a talk from Customer Relations, and an activity which gave the participants an idea of the choices needed to be made and the rationale behind them when dealing with passenger concerns.
Day 2 found our ICF participants and PCCCI volunteers heading for Clark International Airport, where Cathay Dragon is situated. This was a truly memorable day for these young people, as they toured the airport and were given a talk by the front line staff at the check-in counters. While waiting for the plane to arrive, the students eagerly listened to PCCCI members MM Lopez and BA Alejandro share their experiences and insights gathered over their years of flying. A highlight for many of these students was boarding a Cathay Dragon plane and meeting some of the flight attendants!
Back at Cathay's offices, the participants were introduced to Asia Miles, Cathay's travel and lifestyle rewards program with over 500 program partners. The students once more broke up into groups to create a storyboard for Asia Miles. The Amboy group won as the Creative Agency of the year, with its catch phrase, "A mile is not just a distance, it is an opportunity."
Day 3 of the I Can Fly Program was spent at NAIA 3, where Cathay Pacific is situated. The students found the tour of Engineering and Baggage Handling equally informative and exciting! Once again they got up close with one of Cathay Pacific's aircraft. They went through the airport and especially enjoyed the Cathay Pacific Lounge meant for its Business and First Class passengers, and Silver, Gold and Diamond Marco Polo members, or frequent flyers. After that it was a tour and talk at MacroAsia, which handles Catering for Cathay Pacific.
By the end of the third day the students had gotten a bird's eye view of the aviation industry, with its myriad departments, partners, and functions. The different activities had helped build their confidence, and inspired them to excel in order to fully use their potential, and possibly find a career in the exciting aviation industry. They hoped it was possibly the beginning of a life well travelled!
A visit to the DSWD Research and Study Center for Children in Quezon City on Day 4 was arranged by PCCCI member Elena Ongkiko-Santos and her daughter Celine for the CSR portion of the program. Despite the heavy downpour for most of the visit, the participants found this visit the most emotionally demanding and rewarding of the program. The young orphans and abandoned children of the orphanage took to the students with much gusto, and many heartfelt interactions had the students reflecting on how privileged they were and what they could do to make life a little brighter for these underprivileged fellowmen.
July 29 was the last day of the I Can Fly program, and a graduation ceremony was held at the Makati Sports Club. The students were joined by their proud families. Both Cathay Pacific staff and PCCCI volunteers shared in the joy of having completed a worthwhile endeavor which opened the minds of the youth to countless possibilities.
Recognition was given to participants who had excelled in the different activities of the program. PCCI volunteers were honored to hand out certificates and tokens to the winning students.
The UPIS students then performed a marvelous, mostly original song and dance number which they had prepared during the one day break they had. It was fully enjoyed by all who were there! Then came the most awaited part of the program- the announcement of the top 3 students who showed leadership, earnest participation and a positive attitude throughout the program. These 3 students were awarded an all expense trip to Hong Kong!
PCCCI is truly proud to be a part of the I Can Fly program of Cathay Pacific. To be witness to and enablers of the talent, confidence, creativity and budding dreams of the UPIS students is very much part of the foundation's reason for being.