Aisin Academy--Fostering globally competent next-generation leaders in manufacturing
Part 1: Continuing the legacy of reliable quality and excellent manufacturing
Three strengths of AISIN Group are "outstanding technology development," "excellent manufacturing," and "cohesive strength as a group.”
To nurture one of these strengths, "excellent manufacturing," Aisin has a place to pass on its manufacturing skills to the next generation and develop human resources that can play active roles globally. This is the Aisin Academy.
Aisin Academy is an in-house training school (*1) that mainly accepts graduates of technical high schools. The Academy also actively accepts trainees from overseas Group companies. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Aisin Academy.
In this one-year training program, students learn everything from the basics of manufacturing to the basic knowledge required as working members of society as well as specialized knowledge and skills in accordance with the curriculums of their respective courses. At the Academy, students are trained mentally, technically and physically.
* 1 In-house training schools are company facilities that provide accredited vocational training courses based on the Vocational Abilities Development Promotion Act. In addition to the predetermined subjects, an in-house training school can provide its own unique curriculum.
The curriculum of Aisin Academy is divided into three fields: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and electronic engineering. In the first six months, all students learn common technical knowledge and skills, regardless of their major in high school. Many of the graduates are then assigned to the technology development department, the production engineering department, or the production department.
We asked Mr. Yokoi, Principal of the Academy, about the significance of studying at Aisin Academy.
“Aisin Academy develops technicians who can play active roles globally. Evidenced by the many alumni that have assumed important posts, the Academy has produced human resources that support the management of the Group and its subsidiaries. Students develop a strong sense of friendship and community by living together in dormitories and experiencing rigorous training as a team. They continue to exchange information even after graduation. I think one of the greatest advantages of studying at the Academy is that you can build lifelong connections and relationships with colleagues both in Japan and overseas.”
At the In-house Trainee Sports Day (*2) held in July 2021, Academy students made history by winning four different championships in table tennis, softball, soccer and volleyball. Yokoi says with a smile, “It was the result of excellent teamwork that the students exhibited even during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
*2 By providing opportunities for vocational trainees at offices in Aichi Prefecture to compete for skills that they have developed in club activities, the In-house Trainee Sports Day cultivates a fighting spirit and a sense of solidarity, and deepens mutual understanding and friendship among the trainees through competition.
Growth of instructors
There are two ways to become an instructor at the Academy. Some become instructors immediately after graduation, while others work at the production site for several years before teaching. Mr. Takeshita, who is also a graduate of the Academy and currently manages the instructors, shares his view.
“We always try to ensure that our training is up-to-date with all the necessary knowledge and skills, and we do this by listening directly to the production staff and the instructors who have experience working at the production site. Instructors who have received training themselves at the Academy can understand students’ feelings well and stay close to them. The presence of compassionate instructors is very important for students.”
Students are not the only ones who are expected to grow.
“It is important to have subordinates when you are young. Your experience as an instructor will help you when you become an assistant supervisor or supervisor in the future. The Academy is also a place where instructors learn from students and grow. I would like instructors to raise students they can send out into the world with confidence.”
The Academy continues to evolve in response to changes in the environment
The environment surrounding the automotive industry is changing rapidly. Yokoi talks about the future vision of the Academy.
“In conjunction with the business merger between Aisin Seiki and Aisin AW in April, 2021, the two academies operated by these companies merged into one. Naturally, there are some differences in teaching methods between the two academies, so we are now working to blend the best practices of both academies. It is also important to meet the needs of the times. We have established the computer control course, taking into consideration the needs of the departments to which future graduates may be assigned. We are also working to establish more major courses and expand the Academy overseas.”
The baton will continue to be passed to the next generations to ensure Aisin’s traditions of reliable quality and excellent manufacturing are kept alive and always in focus.