On the Road
Everybody wins with the Porsche Training CenterBy Aida Sevilla Mendoza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Mention Porsche, and sports cars immediately come to mind. Not only fast, beautiful, luxurious sports cars, but also their lofty prices since Porsche is one of the best and most prestigious automotive brands in the world. That’s why for us peasants, owning a Porsche is an impossible dream—unless you or I suddenly win the lotto or rob a bank.
But thanks to Porsche AG, Porsche Philippine importer/dealer PGA Cars Inc. and the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, the door to the magical world of Porsche has been opened for underprivileged but deserving Filipino youth. Every year, around 30 Don Bosco scholars are sent to the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia (PTRCA) in Manila, the first such facility outside Germany, Porsche’s home country.
Only the best and most motivated Don Bosco Automotive Mechanics graduates are chosen for the Porsche Service Mechatronics training program. The number of trainees per batch depends on how many technicians the Porsche dealers in other countries need, but it never exceeds 16 per batch. After completing the PTRCA course and hurdling the Porsche AG certification exam, the graduates undergo more intensive, advanced on-the-job training in the PGA Cars dealership for several months and then are deployed to Porsche Centers in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America as certified Porsche Service Mechatronics specialists.
Last Saturday, commencement exercises of the seventh batch of PTRCA scholars (Yearbook Class 7, 2012) were held at the PGA Cars Porsche Center at Edsa with the proud and happy parents of the 16 graduates in the audience. The class valedictorian, Dave Lawrence Pacanza, 18, is the eldest of three children of a tricycle driver in Calamba, Laguna. After graduating from the Looc National High School in 2010, Pacanza was introduced by the high school principal to Salesian Brother Elmer Rodriguez, who runs a program for underprivileged youth in the province. Brother Elmer recommended him to take the qualifying exam for full scholarship at the Ampon ni Don Bosco Foundation.
Chosen. As an Ampon scholar, Pacanza received free board and lodging at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati while he took the 10-month Automotive Mechanics course. He thinks that his hands-on experience helping his father maintain and repair the tricycle’s motorbike gave him a head start at Don Bosco. When he finished basic training in November 2010, he was one of 16 Don Bosco scholars chosen to take the Porsche Service Mechatronics course, Batch 7, at PGA Cars in Mandaluyong.
For nine months, rain or shine, Pacanza commuted daily from Calamba to Manila to attend classes that began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 5 or 6 p.m. “I was motivated by the desire to work for a prestige brand,” he says. “So I tried hard to deserve being associated with Porsche.” For him, the most interesting subjects of the Porsche training program are the PDK [Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe] transmission and vehicle electronics involving fiber optics. He eagerly looks forward to working in the Porsche Center in Abu Dhabi, where 12 other PTRCA graduates have been assigned so far.
Pacanza’s story is only one of the stories of 98 PTRCA graduates from 2008 to the end of 2011 who now work in Porsche dealerships in 13 countries as members of the international Porsche After Sales organization. Their success stories prove that the Porsche program creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. On the one hand, young Filipinos from disadvantaged backgrounds receive specialized training, are guaranteed high-income employment and the chance to chart a better future for themselves and their families, while on the other hand, the growing demand of Porsche AG for a continuous supply of qualified service technicians for its global dealer network is met, especially in the emerging markets.
The program is corporate social responsibility at its finest. As PGA Cars chairman Robert Coyiuto Jr. says, “Providing training and employment opportunities for young, underprivileged Filipinos is our way of making a meaningful contribution to the community.” The idea of a Porsche training and recruitment center in Asia was born in 2006 at the Emerging Markets Meeting when Porsche importers discussed the rapidly growing demand for highly skilled Porsche Service Mechatronics specialists.
The first. The Philippines was chosen as the site for the first Porsche training and recruitment center in Asia, says PTRCA Technical Training manager Hertz Pura, because English is spoken widely, around 10 percent of the population are overseas contract workers who are used to working abroad to support their families, there are public schools and technical/vocational schools nationwide and PGA Cars Inc. has been working closely with Porsche AG since 1996. Moreover, PGA Cars has plenty of room at its Manila base for a training center.
All these factors, plus the high standards set by the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati since 1960 in training around 800 automotive technicians every year, made the Philippines the ideal location for the PTRCA, which opened in April 2008. Hertz Pura, a Don Bosco graduate himself who has spent 11 years doing technical support work for Porsche in Dubai and China, succeeded Thorsten Hagel of Porsche AG as PTRCA Technical Training Manager in 2011. Pura says that positive feedback from Porsche Centers in other countries to which PTRCA graduates were deployed, plus the exceptional performance of PTRCA graduates in certification tests conducted by Porsche AG, prove the high quality of the training they received in Manila. It also showed how quickly and successfully they integrated into their respective Porsche Centers and how they impressed their employers with their efficient working methods.
Following the success of the PTRCA in Manila, Porsche AG has opened training centers in China and Mexico. Aside from theory and practical training with Porsche vehicles and demo materials, PTRCA trainees use state-of-the-art technical equipment, special tools and training modules from the Porsche Corporate Academy, the international Porsche online training platform. They also get to compare notes and ideas with three German apprentices sent by Porsche AG to train with every PTRCA batch for a 45-day period. The progress the trainees are making is evaluated regularly with practical and theory exams throughout the nine-month course.
PTRCA graduates are expected to possess not only technical, specific Porsche knowledge and mechanical skills, but also good language and social skills since they receive professional training in the English language (or Spanish, if necessary), communication with customers plus orientation on the culture of their employers’ economic region. Next year, Pura says, the PTRCA will mark its fifth anniversary to coincide with the graduation of Batch 10 in July. Here is a successful, everybody-wins project that deserves a big celebration.
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