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Turning a dream into reality

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Everybody has a dream.

We had dreams of becoming somebody else when we were young — perhaps a teacher, doctor, pilot, engineer or flight attendant.

For Princess Joy Garcia, it was the latter.

She comes from a family of flight attendants, specifically from her father’s side. Thus, she was inspired to pursue it.

THE nine scholars with the school’s co-founders Princess Joy Garcia (seated, third from left) and Arthur de Leon, (second from left) with trainers Naze Rivera, Cenn Nuyda, Norman Petel and training officer Jihan Christine Manlongat.

In college, she took up a tourism course but she did not finish it. She went to take courses on cabin crew training, instead. She was well on her way to becoming one but her path changed.

“It was actually my childhood dream since grade school because of my family, specifically on my father’s side. They were all flight attendants. I was able to get in one of the local airlines in the country but due to a health problem, I was hospitalized during the training. I was a trainee but I wasn’t able to really fly,” she recalled.

“Since I’ve been dreaming of becoming one as a kid, I didn’t know what to do after it happened. The good thing is, one of the instructors at the training school became my friend and she gave me the idea of opening our own training school.”

It was a fortuitous event for Garcia. After a health scare that stopped her from pursuing her dream, she was led to an alternate path that would somehow turn her dream into a reality.
And it was as eventful as her journey to being a flight attendant had been.

At the third floor of her house in Cainta, Rizal, Garcia started to plot her dreams. She had been there for three days with her childhood friend, Arthur de Leon, who was then working in a BPO, and her newfound friend, Armie Guiao, her cabin crew instructor who had 19 years of flying experience. Together, they drew the “skeletal” organizational structure and operations of the International Cabin Attendant Training School or ICATS amid the onslaught of super typhoon “Ondoy” in September 2009. Two months later, they founded the school. The year after, ICATS started operating in April, which they consider as ICATS’ anniversary month.

DESIGNED to be at par with airline standards.

TESDA-accredited

Almost a decade after its founding, ICATS has had 1,173 graduates from the pioneering three graduates in 2010.

Today, ICATS has two classrooms and a Cabin Trainer, a replica of an aircraft Business and Economy class setting, in the school’s location at the Philippine Stock Exchange Center in Pasig City.

ICATS offers three core programs: Cabin Crew, Campus and Corporate.

The Cabin Crew program is a module-based program that has three in-depth courses namely Direct Flight program, Red-Eye Flight program and Connecting Flight program.

The Direct Flight program caters to day-time enrollees while the Red-Eye Flight program holds classes at night for those who are thinking of shifting careers in the aviation industry.
The Connecting Flight program caters to interested enrollees outside of Metro Manila.

The Cabin Crew program is a 30-day program that has five modules focusing on personality development, aircraft familiarization, emergency situations and procedures, on board service and interview essentials. It had recently been accredited by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

One of the signs that the school is doing well is the trust given by foreign enrollees. They had students from Japan and Korea in their Campus Program courses namely Flight 101, Flight 102 and Flight 103. These can be taught in an hour-long session focusing on how to become a proper flight attendant.

Garcia and De Leon assured that they’re heading in the right path even after their co-founder, Guiao, passed away in 2014. Garcia honed her business-savvy by finishing a Marketing Management degree in 2014. They’ve also set higher standards when it comes to hiring trainers/instructors for the school. ICATS instructors must have at least five years of flying experiences local, and international. They must also be working or have worked in five-star rated airlines. Currently, the school has nine instructors who are still actively flying with major local and international airlines.

Giving back

Aside from flight attendant training courses, ICATS has also been offering programs on personality development and character-building.

The founders stressed that these differentiate them from other training schools. They’ve incorporated these in their modules but have also prepared a separate set of programs concentrating on these courses.

ICATS introduces its Corporate Program which features three courses: Corporate Image Enhancement Program which “tackles dressing for success and cultivating a positive corporate image”; Wave, an “onboarding program designed to help a company’s Human Resources team articulate its vision, mission and core values with the goal of building a strong organizational culture”; and Me After College, which seeks to help fresh graduates make the transition from students to professionals. The latter includes learning about image enhancement and job interview essentials.

Aside from these new training programs, ICATS also aims to pay it forward in its ninth year by granting nine full scholarships to nine individuals.

They are former BPO employee Ferdinand Adriano from Pangasinan, insurance professional Kristel Adriano from Bulacan, former overseas worker Hakim Bonsalagan from Isabela, accounting graduate Franz Calbelo from Marikina, former Cebu airport intern Jessa Mae Cartagenas, Sangguniang Kabataan Councilor Kiara Celine Cruz from Bulacan, entrepreneurship graduate Diana Ruth Dones from Mandaluyong, events professional Marie Erika Grajo from Quezon City, and tourism graduate Maria Milvette Lacatan from Taguig.

These scholars will undergo training in all three of ICATS’ curricula.

ICATS has come a long way from just being an ardent dream of an aspiring flight attendant.
Aside from its new course offerings, the school is also set to receive the TESDA Elite Business and Leadership Awards 2019 for its “exemplary training programs” this May.

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