THERE was not a lot of hope after Typhoon “Yolanda” (international code name: “Haiyan”) struck the Philippines in November 2013. The toll in lost lives and destroyed property overwhelmed the population of Eastern Visayas. But as public and private sectors came together along with the international community, the resiliency of Filipinos shone anew. Where once was only despair soon blossomed faith in the future.
Porsche saw an opportunity to provide sustainable assistance to a few of those affected by the tragedy.
Through its longstanding scholarship and employment program in the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia (PTRCA), selected survivors from Eastern Visayas were given the means to help themselves and their families, forming the center’s 2014 batch of enrollees.
A brainchild of PGA Cars Chairman Robert Coyiuto Jr., the PTRCA was initially a reaction to the exodus of local Porsche technicians who were pirated internationally through the global Porsche network. After receiving the imprimatur from a board member of Porsche AG, Coyiuto swiftly established the program in 2008 – representing the first training instrument in the first facility of its kind in the world outside of Germany.
In partnership with the Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI), the PTRCA has been turning underprivileged Filipino youths into highly skilled “Mechatronics,” or elite technical specialists for Porsche vehicles. Moreover, after successfully completing the course, the scholars are promised employment – often posted abroad at Porsche services centers in developed markets of the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
This gives them a highly competitive income and the unparalleled opportunity to support their families back home. The program has realized such a rousing success that it was expanded under the revised tag PTRCA 2.0, to include sister brands Audi and Volkswagen. Graduates from these two additional marques are immediately eyed for posting in the Middle East.
In anticipation of the increased number of trainees, DBTI is constructing a 6,000-square-meter training center to house seminar rooms and training workshops. The German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) is also on board, and has promised to certify graduates towards employment. The GPCCI last year conferred on the PTRCA the “Innovation Award” for the sustainability, transferability and effectiveness of its “life-changing” program.
Porsche also donated 50,000 euros (approximately P2.6 million) to Don Bosco Mondo Germany for the building of schools in affected provinces, in addition to free enrollment extended by Porsche to the “Yolanda scholars” of PTRCA.
During his speech at the graduation ceremony of the Yolanda batch, Coyiuto noted with pride that the PTRCA has produced close to 300 graduates. “These scholars took a leap of faith, and have now completed their specialized technical training at the distinguished Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia,” he said as he congratulated the graduates.
Aside from the instruction they received at DBTI, the 16 PTRCA scholars were trained for nine months, specifically on Porsche technology.
Chad Germanes, class valedictorian, expressed gratitude on behalf of his batch mates. “Yolanda was a nightmare for many of us, and we remain glad to have survived it because many didn’t. Still there were doubts about what the future held for us because of all the destruction in our province,” he said. “PTRCA has given us strength and hope to believe in ourselves because we now have a very marketable skill. We will never forget this opportunity, and we will not disappoint wherever we eventually become posted – whether here or elsewhere in the world.”
What distinguishes the PTRCA from other schools and programs that also offer training for the marginalized is that the program guarantees employment. The PTRCA, in its own way, is thus a definitive, end-to-end solution to unemployment.