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FEATURE
From Pedicab to Porsche

By Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:18:00 01/08/2011

Filed Under: People, Poverty, Education, motoring

IT?S GETTING easier for 22-year-old Rouven Gamboa to understand and speak Spanish, and he is determined to learn to converse in the language of the Philippines? former colonizers by the end of the year.

Gamboa is working double time to learn the new language as he is set to leave for Argentina in the next two months, becoming one of the first five Filipinos certified as Porsche Service Mechatronics to work for the German luxury sports vehicle?s dealership in Latin America.

Although the lookalike of ?American Idol? finalist David Archuleta has known for over a month that he?s on his way to a two-year stint in one of South America?s most vibrant economies, he still finds himself wondering if everything is just a dream.

After all, it was not too long ago that Gamboa was a sales utility clerk assigned to the supermarket of the SM Mall of Asia, spending eight working hours stacking items on the grocery shelves and earning minimum wage.

Gamboa?s heart was into completing his nursing studies at Adamson University, but his father?s earnings as a pedicab driver and his mother?s income from selling barbecue on Apelo Cruz extension in Malibay, Pasay were not nearly enough to keep him in school.

So he had to drop plans of getting a university degree and instead joined the labor force. But even then, he knew that he would not be spending the rest of his life making sure that the grocery shelves are filled. There just had to be other and better ways for him to use his intellect and skills.

Gamboa got the break he was yearning for when a friend told him about the scholarships offered by the Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI) in Makati, one of the country?s premier educational institutions for vocational courses.

He went after the scholarship like a man possessed, realizing that it was a rare chance to better his lot in life. He went through the gruelling application process and eventually earned a slot in an automotive course. He soon discovered that he had a knack for bringing dead engines back to life, even if it was his first time to be around so many vehicles and parts.

For Gamboa, he just did the best that he could, diligently applying what he learned from his teachers, believing that it was the only thing he could give back to DBTI, which so generously provided him with the education he was looking for and honed the skills that he did not even know he had.

Because of his positive attitude, infectious enthusiasm and unflagging desire to learn more, Gamboa was recommended by DBTI to apply for further training at the three-year-old Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia at PGA Cars Inc., the first and only training institute outside the Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany authorized by the Porsche AG Board.

Gamboa tells the Inquirer that he was just one of the 34 automotive course graduates who went through the rigorous screening process that involved skills tests as well as a series of interviews. In the end, he became one of the lucky 10 who spent the next nine months training under ?headmaster? Thorsten Hagel, Technical Training Manager of the Porsche training center.

By the end of the training sessions that involved hours of classroom training on what makes Porsche special in the highly competitive world of luxury vehicles, and why it commands a seven- to eight-figure price, actual work on the engineering marvels that are the Porsche engines and English classes, Gamboa emerged head and shoulders above his fellow Porsche technicians and was named class valedictorian.

That feat earned the eldest of three siblings a slot in the history books of the Porsche training institute as one of the first graduates to go to Latin America, and the first to be hired by the fast-growing dealership in Argentina.

Two graduates will go to Colombia, and Panama and Trinidad will get one each. The others have been hired by the Porsche centers in the Middle East?where many of the earlier graduates of the institute are now assigned?and the Philippine dealership chaired by Robert Coyiuto, Jr.

?This is the first time that we are trying the program by getting graduates from the Philippines. We have a lot of expectations but I am confident that this will be successful,? says Diego Lopez, After Sales Manager of Porsche Latin America. ?I feel that there is a fit in culture with Latin America because of our common Spanish roots. We are also very confident in the skills that are provided here.?

?I love the idea of doing something for these graduates. They have a lot of hopes and dreams and we are happy to help them somehow to make those dreams come true,? Lopez adds.

Gamboa says his dreams center on providing his family with a better life through his earnings, and in also giving back to Don Bosco, without which he would still be working at the supermarket.

?They have helped me become what I am now and they led me to a better future,? Gamboa says, ?One day, I would like to give back so that they can continue helping others like me have a better life.?

At the rate that Gamboa is going, that day will likely come soon.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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