Some 11 beneficiaries of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) Out-of-School Youth (OSY) were employed by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) through its operator in the Philippines – The Table Group, Inc., after their 3-month contract ended with the said program.

Said beneficiaries, aged 19 to 22, were residents of Pasay City who found refuge under the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) SPES through the assistance of the City Government of Pasay’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO), who then facilitated their engagement with CBTL.

Among the identified beneficiaries is 22-year-old Divina Marie A. Banda, who had to temporarily halt her studies due to limited resources.

Just like other Filipino families, Banda’s family was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their family struggled even more to make ends meet.

But the then beneficiary wouldn’t settle for where they were. With her family and education in mind, she decided to take the chance to apply to SPES, hoping that this will augment their family’s income.

“Good but challenging” – these are the words that describe her 3-month SPES journey, said Divina, who was trained and taught skills in handling drinks and being a barista.

“Doon [in CBTL] na-build ‘yung confidence namin, especially sa pakikipagkapwa-tao and pagharap sa customers. Na-less na rin ‘yung paghingi ko ng pera sa parents ko para sa tuition ko,” she said.

The then beneficiary also highlighted how the program provided her a training ground to become more work ready, responsible, and mature.

Much like the other beneficiaries, Divina was determined to achieve her goals and to make a good impression, so she persevered and poured her commitment. Eventually, the SPES beneficiaries’ grit was recognized.

Nicole Olviga, CBTL’s Senior Manager for Operations Training and Development, attested to how these youth persisted from training up until they finished their contract with SPES.

“The reason why in-absorb namin sila is because we really saw how passionate they are. Nakikita namin na nag-ooverflow ‘yung heart nila sa pagiging grateful na nagkaroon sila ng opportunity na makapagtrabaho in a big company para maka-earn ng money and makatulong sa family nila,” she said.

“Love God. Love Others. Serve Others” – CBTL takes pride in these phrases and sees to it that their employees embody them. Divina, along with the ten SPES beneficiaries, was offered regularization in the company as they show how much they love God through their work, love their team members, and serve others willingly with a happy heart.

Other successful beneficiaries include Danae Larissa F. Adonis, Reynald B. Sajot, Mac Ryan B. Marfil, Robert H. Bacatan, Jemave C. Fernandez, Danica C. Orapa, Sunshine C. Gaban, Reizen S. Ehara, Zushmitha E. Mejia, and Angelique Mae M. Antig.

Meanwhile, The Table Group’s Talent Acquisition Manager Kristel Tepora thanked DOLE and PESO Pasay for all the support and assistance.

Likewise, the beneficiaries also thanked DOLE, PESO Pasay, and CBTL for the opportunity to work and the skills they gained during their SPES engagement. They hoped that the program will continue to extend assistance to more students in need.

SPES, an employment bridging program for the youth, continues to open the door to opportunities for disadvantaged but deserving Filipino youth, so they may attend and finish their education and at the same time, develop employability of student workers in the labor force.

END / Mary Chelsea Espinosa


Watch video interview here: