Teaching the mechanics of good serviceBy Ramon Royandoyan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After a year of planning, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has unveiled its very own school of technology, TMP Tech in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
The school, with its state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, is intended primarily to provide the skilled manpower needed by Toyota plants here and abroad.
Luis Villa, TMP training section manager, said the school’s graduates receive an education that exceeds competencies and skills required by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) for automotive service mechanics.
Villa said graduates of the two-year automotive technology course, currently the only program offered by TMP School of Technology, would qualify for Tesda’s Level 4 National Certification, the agency’s highest competency level.
In his message, Alfred Ty, TMP vice chair, said the idea for setting up a tech school was born a year ago.
TMP chair George Ty personally presented the plan to Toyota Motor Corp.’s (TMC) top management in Japan and got the full support of Shoichiro Toyoda, TMC’s honorary chair.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos, who was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the inauguration of the school, commended Japan’s efforts to help reinvigorate the Philippine economy and revitalize the business sector.
“The second wave of ‘motorization’ from Japan will cascade in the Philippines,” Ramos said.
Toyota recently marked 25 years of doing business in the Philippines. The Japan-based car manufacturer came to the Philippines in August 1988.
The inauguration of the new school was also attended by Laguna first district Rep. Dan Fernandez, Cagayan de Oro second district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Santa Rosa Mayor Arlene Arcillas and Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office and Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva.
Also present were TMP Tech president Dr. David Go, board of advisers chair Washington SyCip and member Domingo Siazon Jr., former Philippine ambassador to Japan and former foreign affairs secretary.
TMP Tech sits on 1 hectare in the Toyota Special Economic Zone in Santa Rosa.
The two-story school building has technical lecture and practice rooms, vehicle stalls, nontechnical classrooms, a library, a dormitory, canteen, multipurpose hall and offices and meeting rooms.
Technical lecture rooms feature prototypes and models of engines for students to tinker with. Inside the classrooms is a wide array of tools for aspiring auto mechanics to learn how to use.
For the inaugural, a stylized garage was set up. But when the school is fully operational, a huge open area will be a garage of sorts where future auto mechanics can learn everything there is to know about getting a motor vehicle to run efficiently.
TMP Tech also has a speech laboratory so students learn more than just about making a car engine work.
In fact, in addition to providing students the most crucial technical skills needed to repair a car, TMP Tech’s course on automotive technology also offers such subjects as cost reduction and productivity mindset/visualization.
As some of the graduates may work in Toyota plants outside the Philippines, the course also includes a foreign language class.
The school can accommodate a maximum of 600 students but for its first year of operation, Villa said they had 125 enrollees so far.
Villa said he was surprised at the number of prospective students and hoped the numbers would increase every new school year.
Toyota started conducting entrance examinations for TMP Tech in June.
Villa said, “TMP is recruiting not just high school graduates but even out-of-school youth.”
He added that students from northern Luzon had also expressed interest in taking TMP Tech’s two-year course.
By 2014, Villa said they hoped TMP Tech would be able to offer short automobile body and paint courses.
One school year at TMP Tech will cost around P50,000, but Villa said they were considering granting scholarships to deserving students.
So far, the school has recruited five trainers.
Graduates of the two-year automotive technology course start in sales before being assigned to Toyota’s service centers in the country, Villa said.
“The students are ensured of employment after finishing the two-year course,” he added.
Villa said TMP was holding talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council for the deployment of graduates to the Middle East, another guarantee of employment for students of TMP School of Technology.
After the inauguration ceremony, TMP signed a memorandum of understanding with Abdul Latif Jameel Imports and Distribution Co. Villa said cooperation between the two companies would strengthen TMP Tech’s automotive training program.