By Nick Hodgson (with extracts from Porsche SA media release)
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” sprang immediately to mind when I first got wind of the new Porsche-led educational training project. Sure many automotive companies have a wide variety of community engagement projects on the go, but what really caught my eye was not only the education focus with a real emphasis on skilled job creation, but also it’s run by Porsche, the makers of the worlds best known sports car, the 911.
Now a luxury sports car brand isn’t exactly the kind of company you’d traditionally envisage spearheading such a program. Yet here is Porsche sticking a hand up amongst a sea of excuses and trying to make whatever difference they can to the lives of our future generations. Imagine yourself a youth again, and now imagine what it would have been like to be told you’ve got an opportunity to become a Porsche mechanic, work on 911’s, Cayman GT4’s and maybe even the fabled 918? You can just imagine the queues to get in are going to be out the door, around the block…
Also read: Is the Porsche 911 R(eally) all that?
From mid-2017, a total of 75 young men and women will be given the opportunity to train as service ‘mechatronics’ (cool name for a mechanic, don’t you think?) at the new Porsche Training and Recruitment Center in South Africa across three academic years. This training will unlock career opportunities for the young adults, not only at Porsche itself, but also with other brands in the VW Group. The programme is specifically designed to cover a wide range of topics, in order to provide trainees with a broad spectrum of opportunities. This project is being organised in association with Don Bosco Mondo e.V. together with its Don Bosco Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP) in Cape Town and the Porsche importer in South Africa, LSM Distributors.
The educational project in South Africa forms part of an umbrella initiative, spearheaded by the “Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia” in Manila, where socially disadvantaged young people have trained as service and bodywork technicians since 2008, to cover the growing need for service employees in the Middle East.
“Porsche has always been about more than just sales figures and revenue. We are committed to fulfilling our social responsibility in markets throughout the world. Our project in Manila is certainly a good example of this. We gain well trained and highly motivated staff for our growth markets in the Middle East. The graduates, in turn, benefit from long-term career prospects and can use their earnings to support their families. Our resoundingly positive experiences in Manila have encouraged us to expand this successful model to South Africa.” – Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG.
Whereas recruitment for Porsche dealerships was, and continues to be, a key focus at the “Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia”, the project in South Africa is also designed to establish a new training programme. To this end, Porsche is developing curricula and examination regulations, training instructors and equipping theoretical and practical lecture areas at the Don Bosco Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP) in Cape Town.
Also read: Porsche Cayman GT4: Better than a 911?
Routes into the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center South Africa
The project will be publicised through various communication channels. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested can apply for the training programme. There are three different routes onto the training programme, depending on the applicant’s qualifications. If an applicant is already sufficiently qualified for vocational training, he or she can access the two-year service mechatronic training programme directly. Any applicants who do not possess the required qualifications can complete a six to eight week life skills training course at the Don Bosco Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP). If an applicant is lacking basic skills, he or she will be given the opportunity to complete a year-long vocational preparation course to prepare them for the working world. This option will be available to up to 50 people per year and will enable them to make significant progress in their personal development.