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Technical Intern Training Program Results Report

Case 4: A Comprehensive Learning Program to Achieve "Ideal Training" (The Awa Net Cooperative, Itano-gun, Tokushima)

Mr. Hiroyuki Tanaka is Vice-President of the Awa Net Cooperative who also functions as President of Asuka Co. Ltd.

Vice-President Tanaka's hobby is photography. Behind him are his photos of the Himalayas.

Vice-President Tanaka's hobby is photography. Behind him are his photos of the Himalayas.

Awa Net began accepting trainees only four years ago. Despite the short experience, the cooperative offers a consistently well-developed program from pre-arrival training through continuous learning.

The bottom line is the pursuit of the "ideal training" envisioned by Mr. Tanaka and his trusted Secretary General Kiyoshi Masugi, who handles daily business. The Training and Technical Internship Program plays a crucial role in passing on solid technical skills to lay strong foundations for the companies' future. Both of them believe that the pursuit for quality in all aspects of training is necessary, not to mention Japanese language training.

The following stories by Mr. Masugi illustrate the key to the "ideal training".

Secretary General Masugi

Secretary General Masugi

<Pre-Dispatch Education>
Through Complementation of pre-dispatch processes from candidate-selection to education processes, in collaboration with sending organizations.

Awa Net accepts trainees from Viet Nam. Speaking of Viet Nam, when Mr. Tanaka visited Viet Nam, he was impressed by how properly Vietnamese people rode their motorcycles, and has favored Vietnamese since then.

Candidates are selected among graduates of vocational schools in machinery or junior technical colleges. In order to apply for the position, candidates are required to submit their educational and work resumes, recommendations from their local governments, and health checkup reports.

Japanese Test Written by Mr. Masugi

Japanese Test
Written by Mr. Masugi

After the first screening, a total number of candidates 1.5 times more than the actual number finally chosen for dispatch move onto training. A month later, the final screening is performed. The final screening consists of a Japanese test, the Kraepelin Test, origami, which is the Japanese traditional art of folding paper, and 'moving azuki beans', where candidates move small beans into a circle written on paper in three minutes. Origami and moving the beans are performed to check hand-eye coordination. Even for those who do not pass the final screening, a month of pay is guaranteed to maintain their income.

Mr. Masugi writes the Japanese test.

Trainees are required to wear uniforms during pre-dispatch education. It is an important period to rouse interest in learning Japanese.

Pre-dispatch education in Ho Chi Minh

Pre-dispatch education in Ho Chi Minh

The candidates who passed the final screening participate in training wearing uniforms sent from Japan. The uniforms are necessary to prepare them to act as company members, which is expected from the day they arrive in Japan.

The Japanese instruction is provided with textbooks and machinery glossaries chosen by Mr. Masugi. Current challenges for these trainees are to be able to recognize more kanji and to improve pronunciation, so average Japanese natives can understand them. What Mr. Masugi really emphasizes in this training, however, is to rouse interest in the language and to lay the groundwork for their study habits. "The most important aspect is whether trainees have the right attitude to continue studying. Conversational skills can be acquired once they come to Japan, " says Mr. Masugi.

Procedure Manuals for the Basic Grade 2 Skills Test.

Procedure Manuals for the Basic Grade 2 Skills Test.

An Enlarged View of the Procedure Manual: Machine Components Are Clearly Labeled.

An Enlarged View of the Procedure Manual: Machine Components Are Clearly Labeled.

<Initial Group Training>
Listen, move, and speak: Calming down new trainees is also a goal in Japanese classes.

Initial group training is held at a community center, using a curriculum created by Mr. Masugi.

Mr. Masugi once attended the Japanese instruction seminar organized by JITCO, and was reassured and inspired by a teaching method using gestures. Mr. Masugi tries to create interesting lesson plans utilizing items, pictures, and movement.

Mr. Masugi believes that a month of initial group training is a crucial period in the training program. "New trainees are restless and may even be inattentive, but they gradually settle down once we teach them the basics like greetings, manners, dishwashing and cleaning. This first month period is a good length of time for new trainees to get acquainted with a new Japanese lifestyle, and is therefore very important, " Mr. Masugi comments.

Another key to successful training is to assess each trainee's skill set and personality. Some trainees are methodical, some are irresponsible, and some are communicative in Japanese . This is also the time to start thinking on how to best utilize everyone's talents and uniqueness in the long run.

<Continuing Education>

Even after trainees move on engaging into training at accepting companies, their learning is managed by the cooperative, working closely with the accepting companies. The following shows how to prepare for the National Trade Skills Tests.

Trainees teach each other using procedure manuals, and original mock tests are provided for the National Trade Skills Tests.

Awa Net takes responsibility for the National Trade Skills Tests preparation, offering a unique approach.

For the skills test, procedure manuals are created in Japanese. Japanese trainers, speaking in Japanese, explain the steps to trainees who are already comfortable with the tasks. The trainees then translate what they heard into Vietnamese and teach each other.

This method not only provides trainees with an opportunity to study more Japanese, but also encourages trainees to be in charge of their own learning, and build strong ties with fellow trainees.

For the written test, the cooperative makes original mock tests so trainees can begin studying daily using them a month prior to the real tests in addition to the skills practice.

<Building a Vietnamese School Network >
Opportunities should be given to those who really want to learn. It is important to get to know their families by meeting parents.

Mr. Masugi has been working with Vietnamese vocational schools. He believes that it is necessary to build a trusting relationship with vocational schools in order to find candidates who are seriously considering training in Japan. When Mr. Masugi visits Viet Nam, he brings photographs of trainees and shows them at the trainees' former schools, reporting on their progress.

As for recruiting, technical interns in Japan write to their old schools, and many of their junior fellows become interested. There have been times when a lot of applications were submitted from those schools.

Awa Net hosts annual parent meetings in Viet Nam for trainees' families, sending organizations, and accepting companies.

There are families who travel for 10 hours to attend this meeting in order to hear how their children are doing.

A Parents Meeting in Ho Chi Minh

A Parents Meeting in Ho Chi Minh

The cooperative hopes to invite trainees' families to Japan so they can see their children in training and at work.

"To make the training truly fruitful, and to make it continue working for the companies' future, inviting the families to Japan seems necessary," Mr. Masugi asserts.

People, machines, and money - these things cannot be taken easily, so Mr. Masugi takes time building a solid foundation before hastening onto the next step.

The training program at Awa Net follows a thoroughly calculated plan that begins even before trainees are assigned to come to Japan, making sure it includes substantial Japanese education as well.

It was confirmed that "ideal training" has taken place in this cooperative, passing on the skills that have been accumulated through the years, and constructing a bright future for the people and the companies involved.

Procedure Manuals for the Basic Grade 2 Skills Test.
Mr. Masugi communicates with trainees via daily journal exchange.

Mr. Masugi encourages trainees to write journals daily. He asks trainees to record the number of products made that day in order to develop production management skills. For those who have trouble writing properly, Mr. Masugi gives sample sentences, such as "I worked on XYZ from one to four o'clock. I made 50 products." Trainees can usually learn from the example and manage on their owns.

Mr. Masugi writes, "It was not understandable" when contents of the entries are not clear to him. Trainees correct themselves and write back to him.