One such graduate, Richard G. Sazon, who currently leads Shell Clark Pampanga, summarizes his 15-year journey and its implications for struggling individuals like his younger self: “Ang GMBK ay isang programa na nagbibigay pag-asa sa mga Forecourt Service Attendant (FSC) or pump attendant na katulad ko dati. Pinagbubuksan ulit ang pintuan ng pag-asa ng mga FSC ng bawat Shell station sa bansa.” (The GMBK is a program that gives hope to the FSCs or Pump Attendants, like me before. It opens doors of hope for every FSC in each Shell station in the entire country.”)

GMBK was launched in 1983 by Pilipinas Shell through its social arm PSFI which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Since then, it has benefitted more than 5,000 scholars, most of whom have gone on to lead productive lives by putting to good use the technical-vocational skills they learned through the program.

Change in mindset

Back then, Sazon had a hard time trying to earn a living as a Shell FSC-in-training. He didn’t know how to use a computer, couldn’t read well, and had difficulties with his co-workers. It wasn’t until his supervisor in Pampanga gave him another chance to prove to himself that he took his work seriously. His consistently high ratings as an FSC led to a slot in the GMBK scholarship program in 2009. The training teaches participants valuable technical-vocational courses such as structural welding, consumer electronics, food and beverage servicing, automotive mechanics, bookkeeping, and basic computer skills.

However, before upgrading their skills, the scholars first undergo a Leadership Enhancement and Attitude Development (LEAD) workshop to uplift their morale and self-esteem. Asked to literally draw his dreams, this process made him realize he had none because he was busy trying to survive. His GMBK teachers inspired him to have higher goals.

Sazon remembers them telling him, “Imposibleng wala kayong mga pangarap. May mga pangarap kayo pero kinalimutan niyo pangsamantala kasi naging busy kayo sa mga buhay ninyo. Ngayon andito kami para buksan ulit ang mga pangarap ninyo at tumulong na maabot ninyo ang mga ito balang araw” (“It is impossible that you don’t have dreams. You do have them, but you temporarily forgot them because you have been busy with your lives. We are here to revive your dreams and help you reach them someday”)

Scholars like Sazon also received material support from Pilipinas Shell like school supplies, transportation allowance, and other resources needed for their training. Not surprisingly, many of the GMBK graduates have remained with Shell---and like Sazon, are now holding supervisory and managerial positions.

Sazon says, “Bilang scholar ng Shell, tumataas ang respeto mo sa sarili mo at nagiging responsabli ka sa trabaho. Mas damdam mo ang pagmamahal ng Shell at ng dealer mo sa iyo dahil sa dagdag kaalaman na ibinigay nila sa iyo.” (“As a Shell scholar, your self-respect increases as you become more responsible at work. You greatly feel the love of Shell and your dealer through the added knowledge that they give you.”)

Giving back

Shell launched GMBK in 2007 to train and develop long-term employment opportunities for its retail station staff. The scholarship was based on and customized from the earlier Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal (SKIL) program, which was created in 1983 as a response to the increasing number of out-of-school youth as well as the growing need for skilled workers.

Sazon says that GMBK gave him an edge by improving his mindset towards work. He attributes his success to this complete character turnaround. Now, as a leader, he wants to give back to others.

Sazon says, “Maniwala lang kayo sa proseso, I-grab ninyo ang opportunity kasi isang beses lang yan darating. Oo, sa una mahirap yang ibibigay nilang obligasyon pero after ng hirap makakamit din ninyo ang ligaya at darating ang pagkakataon na kayo naman ang mag momotivate at magiinspire sa mga staff ninyo. Dahil sa mga naging karanasan ninyo bago kayo naging station manager. Matuto din kayo lumingon sa mga taong tumulong sa inyo nung panahong hindi niyo pa alam ang dereksyon ng buhay ninyo”.

(“Have faith in the process, take opportunities because they only come once. Yes, at first the duties they give you will be tough, but after the hardships, you will also achieve happiness. The time will come when you will be motivating and inspiring the staff because of your experiences before you became a station manager. Learn to look back and acknowledge the people who helped you when you did not know the direction of your life.”)

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