THE hotly-anticipated Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia, which aims to produce top-quality technicians for Porsche service centers worldwide, was formally inaugurated recently at the PGA Cars Center along EDSA Greenhills.

The center, which is now processing the first batch of 16 trainees from the Makati-based Don Bosco Technical Institute, is equipped with Porsche training facilities - a classroom together with testers, tools and Porsche demo parts, along with two cars (a 911 and a Cayenne) for the trainees to disassemble and assemble - which were all imported straight from Germany.

After almost a year, the vision of PGA Cars chairman Robert Coyiuto Jr. and Porsche Asia-Pacific became reality with the unveiling of the world-class training center, which is the first ever in Asia. The event was witnessed by several top Porsche officials, such as Anette Bauer, general manager of the market support of Dr. Ing. H.c. F. Porsche of Stuttgart, Germany; Torsten Klavs, market support service training of Dr. Ing, who will serve as the project leader of the training facilities; Thorsten Hagel of Porsche Asia-Pacific Ltd., who shall also serve as the technical training manager of the facility; German Ambassador to the Philippines Weber-Lortsch; Don Bosco Technical School principal Bro. Elmer Rodriguez and many other guests.

In her speech, Bauer revealed "there is a shortage in Porsche technicians in a lot of markets, especially in the Middle East region. The constant growth of Porsche is mainly coming from new markets such as Russia, China and the Middle East. Porsche has undertaken a lot of efforts to build up a solid dealer network in these regions in order to guarantee service toward our customers, and markets have invested tremendously to make these efforts sustainable."

Bauer, who also mentioned that Porsche had sold 98,000 vehicles in 2007 (an all-time high), expressed joy at the cooperation between Porsche Asia-Pacific, PGA Cars and Don Bosco Technical Institute in order to assure Porsche customers worldwide of quality aftersales service. "This cooperation will allow us to educate 40 young people a year as Porsche service mechatronics (a term for a Porsche vehicle mechanic who is an expert in vehicle electric and electronic components) who will support Porsche in assuring a high level of qualification in the dealer network. We are indeed privileged to have such qualified and motivated partners here in the region who understand our brand and are willing to support the worldwide Porsche organization."

The appointment of two German experts to the training facilities only means that Porsche is really hell-bent on producing the finest in the near future. "With this facility we build up the best prerequisite for the trainees to fulfill future requirements in the worldwide Porsche dealership. The training is a big opportunity and great program to raise the knowledge of the trainees. I hope they will come to the training with open minds to be able to face up to the challenges ahead," said Klavs, who was in the country when the center was launched in December.

For his part, Hagel, who has been with Porsche Guatemala for five years and has 15 years of experience as a mechatronics, said: "I want them to take the training seriously so that they will be well qualified for their future position in the Porsche dealer network."

The two will oversee the six-month, on-the-job training of the 16 new trainees, who had already undergone 10-month basic training at the Don Bosco Technical School in Makati. After the six-month training, the successful graduates will be taken into a pool of Porsche mechatronics, who can be dispatched anywhere in the world where a Porsche dealership needs them. A total of 40 trainees shall make up the second batch this year and the following years.