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Fueling dreams through education

For a developing country like the Philippines, education is a critical engine in powering progress. For most Filipinos, it may be the only key to survival and getting better prospects in life.

Shell Gas Mo, Bukas Ko Scholar Andrelo Centinales /2016.mb.com.ph

Shell Gas Mo, Bukas Ko Scholar Andrelo Centinales /2016.mb.com.ph

Since 2007, Shell’s nationwide scholarship program “Gas Mo, Bukas Ko” (GMBK) aims to enhance the skills of forecourt service attendants as well as dependents of its Pepeng Pasada drivers’ club. More than just providing motorists with smarter products for clean and efficient transport, Shell has undertaken such innovative methods in developing the potential of its people that enable them to provide cutting-edge services as well.

With over 1,600 scholars, GMBK continues to provide learning and capacity-building training programs that enhance employment and livelihood opportunities, as well as develop their values and character. In fact, 85 percent of these scholars have taken on bigger responsibilities as forecourt service champions, while some got promoted to higher positions.

The reluctant gas boy

“Honestly, never in my wildest imagination did I think that I’ll be working in a gas station because it’s not really considered as an ‘ideal’ job,” shared Lance Legaspi, a GMBK scholar. “But I have come to believe that I was really destined for this career.”

Coming from a family of eight children, life was difficult for Lance. There were times when his parents weren’t sure where to find food for the family, much less the means to support his college education.

Fate eventually intervened through Lance’s high school principal, who endorsed him to a GMBK scholarship. April Twinkle A. Corral, who at that time was the operations manager of the Shell Station in Davao, interviewed him and administered an exam. The entire process happened in less than four hours and he was deployed at the forecourt for hands-on training right there and then.

Things did not come easy at first, as Lance experienced a lot of challenges. “I was tempted to quit, but I know that my decision might affect future endorsements from my high school, so I persevered instead,” he said. Lance’s hard work paid off as he eventually rose up the ranks to become forecourt cashier, team leader, forecourt supervisor in-charge, to being currently the cluster’s trainer.

“Being a GMBK scholar is life-changing. I took up Basic Computer and Troubleshooting and it really helps me with my current responsibilities. On a more personal note, it turned me into a more positive person. I learned to be courageous and made myself stronger as I face difficult chapters in my life. It taught me to be even more committed to strive hard and achieve my dreams and be the person my parents would be proud of,” he related. Lance even ended up as one of two forecourt service champions who represented the country in last year’s Smiling Stars Award in Paris, France.

From fisherman to coach

“I used to live along a coastline in Bohol. My father is a fisherman, my mother is a housewife and I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters. I used to help my father fish during the weekends and every time I had no school,” related Andrelo Centinales, another GMBK scholar. After graduating high school, he was prepared to live the life of a fisherman.

However, his parents wanted a better life for him and so he was sent to Cebu to find work. He eventually chanced upon a job posting looking for forecourt crew at Shell. Things took a sharp turn from that point on as he eventually became a GMBK scholar.

Right now, Andel is still part of Shell as an onsite coach. “My greatest aspiration in life is to work with Shell abroad, but at this point in time my goal is to help my cluster win the Gold Retailer of the Year,” he shared.

Pride of the pit crew

Jocelyn Bermoy, meanwhile, is similarly proud of her entry level position at Shell as part of the pit crew. “The words ‘pit crew’ or ‘pump attendant’ may come across as a low level job for many. But this was the job that helped me rise from the ranks. This was also what helped me develop myself,” she said.

Her GMBK scholarship equipped Jocelyn with the skills and the confidence to pursue higher positions and bigger responsibilities in her career. “Shell’s GMBK scholarship is a great program. It helped me set my vision and direction in life. This gave me another opportunity to pursue my studies and finish a vocational course,” she declared.

“Through this program, I gained more confidence in myself. I got promoted, from being a pit crew to being a cashier, team leader, and now a station supervisor. My family and I are truly happy with what I’ve accomplished in life. I really can’t thank Shell enough for providing this opportunity,” she concluded.