Aisin Academy: Fostering Next-Generation Leaders Developing people to make active contributions around the world while securing Aisin's future [Part 1]
Aisin anticipates the future of manufacturing across time, national borders, and business domains. Development of human resources is the common foundation of Aisin’s three strengths: technology development, manufacturing excellence, and cohesive strength as a group. Aisin Academy holds the key to this foundation, and our future as a company.
What programs does Aisin Academy offer to develop these valuable human resources? This two-part article highlights educational opportunities and explores the vision behind its unique methodology, well-beyond the mere training of technicians.
Part 1 explores the present and future vision of Aisin Academy by focusing on the development of “digital human resources.”
Aisin Academy as an in-house vocational school to foster next-generation leaders
Aisin Academy is an in-house vocational school accredited by the governor of Aichi Prefecture in accordance with the Vocational Abilities Development Promotion Act. Opened in 1977, as a place to train talented individuals who joined the company after graduating from high school, it fosters next-generation leaders who underpin Aisin’s manufacturing operations.
When asked about the goal of human resources development, Yoshiyuki Ohashi, Principal of the academy, said: “The most important assets that have built Aisin are individual people. Those who think for themselves, take action, and continue to take on challenges are the driving force behind all operations. Development of such human resources gives the utmost strength to companies. The academy is expected to foster individuals who have a sense of ownership about everything they do, and everything the company does.”
Yoshiyuki Ohashi, Principal of Aisin Academy
This vision of human resources development as explained by Principal Ohashi is also reflected in the education policy.
Of the 220 days of training at Aisin Academy, more than half - 120 days - are spent on the acquisition of basic skills related to production. Mental and physical training accounts for nearly half of the curriculum. By utilizing acquired knowledge and skills, students turn into valuable team members who can think for themselves and take action on their own initiatives while also working cooperatively with their colleagues.
Introduction of education that meets environmental changes and on-site needs
Aisin Academy has long been committed to passing on the spirit and skills of monozukuri (manufacturing) and developing human resources that are crucial to production sites. But recent social trends, rapid industry changes and concepts like carbon neutrality, electrification and acceleration of digitalization (DX, AI, and IoT) have required curriculum reform and major course reorganization.
In FY2021, the Computer Control Course was established to focus on programming and network construction in addition to conventional skills. In FY2022, the academy established the Manufacturing Equipment Course, which includes conventional elements and digital skills. This marked the beginning of the development of individuals who could maintain production and become leaders in the system maintenance field.
Reorganization to promote DX and accelerate the use of IoT
The Computer Control Course and the Manufacturing Equipment Course were established in response to accelerated automation of production lines and significant changes in operations due to promotion of DX and IoT in-house.
When production lines are increasingly automated, hands-on work to operate equipment will decrease, and the focus will shift to management and maintenance, such as the oversight and repair of equipment.
With the current situation and forecast in mind, major courses were reorganized, and the curriculum was improved to meet the future needs of students who are expected to serve as on-site managers and supervisors.
Principal Ohashi said with enthusiasm, “Obviously, the shift to electrification and digitalization will continue to accelerate. It was imperative to develop human resources capable of controlling IoT devices, such as managing and maintaining equipment, in addition to acquiring conventional skills. This motivated us to reorganize major courses. We hope to develop key individuals who will strongly promote the next-generation fields of AI, IoT, and electrical maintenance.”
Background and determination to develop digital human resources in-house
As the shift to digitalization accelerates on a global scale, it is essential to develop a digital work force that can cope with advanced technologies and become next-generation leaders who run manufacturing sites.
In Japan, governmental bodies and private companies have been stepping up efforts to develop digital human resources as a key to ensuring future growth. Aisin Academy is expected to play an enhanced role in that future.
Instilling Aisin’s DNA through commitment to in-house human resources development
Hayate Yamamoto, instructor at Aisin Academy
Hayate Yamamoto, who serves as an instructor at Aisin Academy said, “We foster the human resources in-house that we lack. We train on-site operators, leaders, and instructors depending on the social environment and internal needs. This is one of Aisin’s unique qualities.”
To foster next-generation leaders, Aisin Academy organizes programs based on a well-structured plan, starting with the training of instructors.
In some cases, on-site training is conducted over several months to improve their skills.
Yamamoto said with confidence, “The most advanced skills are used on site. They cannot be found in textbooks. We experience front-line on-site operations over several months to acquire skills and knowledge. We then bring this knowledge back to the academy and incorporate it into future programs. This experience not only helps improve the learning for students but also raises the skill level of instructors.”
Encouraging Aisin members to take on the challenges of advanced technologies as the first step toward fulfilling their dreams
Sayaka Saito, graduate of the Computer Control Course, Aisin Academy
Sayaka Saito, who graduated from the Computer Control Course, explained the usefulness of learning at Aisin Academy: “In my daily workplace operations, I can see where I was helped by what I learned at the academy, both in terms of mental and physical aspects as well as my Computer Control curriculum. I apply what I learned about the importance and difficulty of ‘responding to changes’ through the mental and physical training. I also use my Python programming language knowledge and skills that I gained from the course to increase work efficiency using automation systems. Such advanced learning is directly linked to practical operations.”
Innovation in AI and IoT is rapid and relentless. To accurately predict changes and quickly reflect them in human resource development, the flexibility and unique aspects of the in-house Aisin Academy offers a great advantage.
Principal Ohashi spoke to this, saying “The technologies we must offer and the fields in which we operate will change rapidly beyond our imagination. I hope to graduate as many students as possible who will be able to take the initiative, develop leadership skills, and someday lead Aisin.”
Students are expected to acquire knowledge and new skills to meet the changing times and develop mental and physical strengths to continue to serve as leaders with a sense of commitment in the ever-changing social environment. This mental and physical education is the core value of Aisin Academy and a key component to Aisin’s growth.
Part 2 will report on the development of human resources overseas.