TWENTY-five-year-old Raymond de la Cruz is eagerly looking forward to visiting his aging parents in Tacloban, Leyte this Christmas, for it may be at least three years before he sees them again.
That?s because de la Cruz is set to leave early next year for Dubai, United Arab Emirates where he will work as one of the service experts of the growing Porsche Center there.
It will be de la Cruz?s first time to go to another country and he still can not believe how far he has gone from those difficult days when he had to venture out to sea every day from 5 in the afternoon to the pre-dawn hours the next day just to catch around P200 worth of fish to support his family.
His extensive training in service mechatronics at the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia, housed at the PGA Cars? Porsche showroom on Edsa, has enabled him to fulfill his promise to himself to provide his family a better life.
The training program at the first facility of its kind outside Porsche?s headquarters in Germany was made possible by the strong partnership between Porsche and the Don Bosco Technical Institute?a leader in automotive training in the Philippines known to produce skilled and motivated graduates.
The center is the brainchild of exclusive Philippine Porsche distributor PGA Cars chair Robert Coyiuto Jr., who thought that since he was already losing some of his people to Porsche dealerships abroad, he might as well set up an institution that would ensure the continuing development of an elite corps of trained Porsche technicians.
Coyiuto got Don Bosco on board since it produces the type of graduates that Porsche needs to take care of its luxury vehicles.
Under the scholarship and training program that got off the ground in April 2008, around 30 students of the Don Bosco Manpower Skills Training Center, chosen for their high skills level in basic automotive repair, are taken in as scholars every year.
They go through six months of specialized training on how to keep the mean piece of engineering that is a Porsche automobile running on all eight cylinders. Plus, they are provided English and communication lessons to further prepare them for their future roles as Porsche technicians here and abroad.
De la Cruz tells the Inquirer that he was introduced to Don Bosco and the automotive world by an uncle, who promised him a good paying job after he completes his 15 to 18-month vocational course.
He was initially hesitant to enroll because he was not really interested in car engines, but then Don Bosco made it easy for poor students like him to learn new skills because of its study now and pay later scheme.
He was also inspired by the teachers? message that he would learn not just skills but values at the end of his course.
So in 2008, he studied the life of Don Bosco as required by the school and diligently studied his lessons.
After bringing a dead engine back to life for the first time, he was hooked.
?I got a different feeling from getting an engine up and running. I never felt like that before. I was fulfilled and happy knowing I have accomplished something,? says de la Cruz in Filipino. ?I have loved automotive repair ever since.?
That passion, dedication and confidence in his abilities came across when he was interviewed for the PTRCA scholarship.
He and 15 others are now proud holders of certificates as Porsche Service Mechatronics, making them eligible to work in Porsche centers around the world.
De la Cruz says he still remembers how scared he was to even touch a Porsche because of its value?prices start at around P9 million.
But he says he and his classmates were encouraged by their technical training manager, Thorsten Hagel, to experiment, learn and not be afraid to make mistakes.
?We were told that we already have the skills, that the engines are basically the same, but that the technologies are different. Those are what we had to learn and master during our theoretical and hands-on training at the Porsche center,? says de la Cruz.
Hagel, who also represents Porsche Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., says he was optimistic that the Philippines would produce even more certified Porsche service mechatronics given the growing demand in emerging and growing markets.
?There will always be a need for qualified technical people,? says Hagel, ?And Filipinos particularly are known for being adaptive, and used to working abroad. The facility with English is another benefit.?
As for de la Cruz, he says he is excited about leaving for Dubai, and he says his parents could not be prouder of him.
?They are getting older, and I do not want them to die poor,? says de la Cruz.
With Porsche?s help, he believes that his dream will get closer to becoming a reality.