The first fruits of the Isuzu-funded and TESDA-run Auto Mechanic Training Center in Tacloban, Leyte, have been reaped. On Nov. 4, Japanese commercial-vehicle assembler Isuzu formally held the graduation rites for the first batch of its scholars in the school run by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. The graduating batch consisted of 25 students, who were conferred industry-recognized auto-technician certification.

Isuzu Motors Limited Chairman Yoshinori Ida, Isuzu Philippines Corp. President Ryoji Yamazaki and Isuzu Autoparts Manufacturing Corp. President Kazuyoshi Iizuka graced the ceremony and also welcomed the incoming batch of 18 new scholars. The latest group is already the fifth to be enrolled in the training center since its inauguration in 2008.

"The environment you will be facing in the real world will be hard and might be beyond what you could ever imagine," IML Chairman Ida admonished the graduates. "You have to believe in what you have learned in the past two years. Just believe in yourself and do your best. All of you are now certified as NC4 qualification holders. Take pride in being graduates of this great school, and continue to inspire your junior scholars by opening the doors to a brighter future for all of them."

Isuzu also honored the top three graduates of the first batch, namely: Jonnalyn Navarrosa (1st placer) of Catarman, Northern Samar; Jeffrey Velos (2nd placer) of Camotes, Cebu: and Yniezza Niña Mosot (3rd placer) of Pintuyan, Southern Leyte. Navarrosa was also named most valuable scholar.

Of the 25 graduates, 17 have been assigned to undertake on-the-job training at IPC, IAMC, Isuzu Mandaue, Isuzu Manila, Isuzu Commonwealth, Isuzu Greenhills, Isuzu Quezon Avenue, Isuzu EDSA, Isuzu Bulacan, Isuzu Cabanatuan, Isuzu Isabela, Isuzu Bacolod, and Isuzu Cagayan de Oro. The rest are undergoing training in various shops in Tacloban, Samar and Southern Leyte. Their training commenced on Nov. 8 and will conclude on Jan. 8, 2011.

In welcoming the next batch of scholars, IML Chairman Ida encouraged the new students to "make your studies your first priority in the next two years." He also asked them to help make the Isuzu-TESDA Auto Mechanic Training Center "the No. 1 technical school in the Philippines."