Since 2008 the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia (PTRCA) in Manila has been offering Filipinos from underprivileged backgrounds career opportunities as “Mechatronics,” or elite technical specialists for Porsche vehicles. The brands Audi and Volkswagen now become new cooperation partners in this initiative. In future the companies are planning together recruiting junior technical staff from PTRCA, with job opportunities mainly in the Middle East region. The development of the PTRCA to PTRCA 2.0 with the new cooperation partners means that much more young Filipinos will be accepted in the training program. Instead of the current 32 trainees per year, in 2016 there will be 120 and in 2017 even 145.
The PTRCA first began when Robert Coyiuto, Jr., Chairman and CEO of PGA Cars, Inc., observed that his local technicians were often being pirated internationally through the global Porsche network.
“I discussed with a member of the Porsche AG board the possibility of setting up a training school in the Philippines, because our technicians were highly sought-after worldwide,” he recalled. Fortunately, Porsche AG was impressed by the practicality and potential of Coyiuto’s brainchild, and thus the PTRCA was born. “We are proud to be the very first training facility of Porsche outside of Germany, and remain fully committed to invest in the future of our underprivileged youth,” Coyiuto further emphasized.
In the past six years, in cooperation with PGA Cars and Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI), Porsche has already trained more than 250 young adults as motor vehicle service mechatronic technicians. They cover the sports car manufacturer’s growing demand for qualified specialists, especially in the Porsche centres in the Middle East and Asia Pacific growth markets.
“Good English language skills and the good work ethic the people of the Philippines are known for are beneficial here”, explains Michael Drolshagen, Head of After Sales at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, the reason for setting up the PTRCA in Manila. Training there was and remains first and foremost a recruitment program. “But of course for us it means also practising social responsibility. Because a qualification from the PTRCA not only gives these young adults access to the international labour market, it also gives them a real opportunity to noticeably improve their own living conditions and to strengthen their family environment.”
Starting this year, PTRCA extends its scope by including Audi and Volkswagen for the Middle East region. Benoit Tiers, Group Managing Director of AVME (Audi Volkswagen Middle East) comments:
“The program has proven its value and we can build on it quickly and easily. It demonstrates the strengths of our Group by using synergies and know-how across the Volkswagen Group brands. We will be closely involved in the PTRCA 2.0 in the next years as we plan to participate in the development of the curriculum, but also to look at further training for teachers and eventually the equipment. The expansion of the PTRCA program to include a body technician apprenticeship and from 2017 service advisor training programs lends additional dynamism. This noticeably further increases the benefits for all Volkswagen Group brands and the dealer network.”
Given that PTRCA 2.0 will now service the manpower needs of Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen, the number of scholars and the logistical requirements of the course will understandably increase. This year, 60 trainees will participate in the program, and from 2016 onwards, a total of 120 trainees in two waves. The training will be comprised of four semesters (approximately 2,200 teaching hours in 24 months), with two examinations. The hands-on portion of the curriculum will likewise increase as the training progresses.
The Order Salesians Don Boscos play a major role in the overall structure of the PTRCA. With its Don Bosco Technical Institute the society has outstanding educational expertise and excellent technical know-how. In addition, the Salesians Don Boscos are the ideal partner for working with underprivileged young people. With their long-standing presence they enjoy a high level of acceptance, especially in the poor districts of the Philippines.
“The Salesians Don Boscos are extremely well geared to our needs. And the fact that they are represented in 132 countries means that we can multiply the training program at any time, too”, says Dr Stefan Lutz, Director After Sales Market Qualification and Support at Porsche.
His team has been responsible for the operational support of PTRCA right from the start. Among other tasks the team is concerned with the training content of the 24-month apprenticeship.
“Young people have a right to education, training and work”, says Christian Osterhaus, Managing Director of the German NGO Don Bosco Mondo. “Vocational training ‘Made in Germany’ is highly regarded around the world. And it is not only young people in emerging and developing countries who benefit – society as a whole and the companies involved benefit just as much. I am very pleased that a premium company like Porsche is also giving underprivileged young people abroad a chance. Together we are able to offer young people from extremely difficult social backgrounds prospects for finding a good job through vocational training and therefore the chance for a life in dignity. Here in Manila we are experiencing exemplary implementation.”
The development of the PTRCA to PTRCA 2.0 with the new cooperation partners Audi Volkswagen Middle East means that in future even more space is needed. So it’s good that the Don Bosco Technical Institute is currently building a new 6,000 square metre training centre in Manila. On an area of about 1,500 square metres it will house seminar rooms and training workshops for the PTRCA 2.0 for the brands Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen. With the appropriate equipment the brands also ensure that the young people are instructed in accordance with state-of-the-art technology. In addition, thanks to future cooperation agreed with the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, after their final examination they will receive a certificate that can be even better compared with the European qualifications framework.
As to what the future has in store for the scholars of PTRCA 2.0, Coyiuto gave the following advice:
“The road ahead will be demanding, but I urge all of you to face every challenge as an opportunity, and with perseverance and fortitude, to achieve victory at the end. The PTRCA has given you a once in a lifetime opportunity that is limited to a select group. Work hard, give it your best, and keep learning,” he concluded.