A significant policy change in Japan to its ease labor shortages allows a partnership between CITE and AKTIO Corporation, a leading construction equipment rental business in Japan, to provide training and employment opportunities to highly skilled graduates of CITE in its headquarters in Tokyo.
The partnership was made possible through the efforts of CITE vice-president Mario King who introduced representatives from AKTIO to CITE during the exploration visit of AKTIO top executives in November 2017.
Having seen the opportunity to expand its operations in the Philippines to provide rental solutions and drum up support for technology transfer to able and competent Filipino workers, the Japanese company signed an agreement with CITE to start the AKTIO Philippines Training Program in June 2018.
About 20 graduates of the 3-year Electromechanics Technology Program were inducted into the training which included a battery of preparatory procedures such as document screening, interviews, home visits, medical and psychological exams, technical training and assessment, Japan technical training, and Japan business model training to prepare aspirants for the slot and broaden the scope of the program. From about 20 applicants, they were trimmed down to 12 to enroll in the Japanese Language class.
Twenty-five year old Rommel Sasan is the youngest in a brood eight children whose father passed away last year. Rommel lives in a rundown neighborhood in the urban area with his sickly mother, some of his siblings and extended family members who rely on his income.
Rommel has longed to work abroad and get a better deal in life. After some unsuccessful attempts to apply in Korea and Japan and foreign language trainings on the side, the AKTIO project came his way as a blessing after passing his time around.
Rommel was chosen among eight trainees from 12 aspirants who were finally selected to be sent to Japan for a training. Rommel joined fellow alumni Leonardo Amoroto, Christian Bordadora, Aries Felisco, Jeran Fernandez, Janrey Mahinay, Charles Kim Pitogo, Reign Joshua Setenta who arrived in Inabe Oizume, Nagoya on February 6 this year.
While coping with homesickness and nostalgic for home, Rommel finds the weather condition a most challenging for him from the get-go. While daytime highs would be warm, the evening temperatures are very cold, even reaching single digits.
“As you know, we are from a tropical country, so waking up to a chilly morning breeze is really a struggle for us. But we are able to manage because of the people who support us, especially our daily life advisor, Mr. Masuda Akiyoshi, Plant Manager Nago Toukatsu, Yuu Ogiwara, and Aoyagi. They treat us very fairly. They even threw a welcome party just for all of us Philippine trainees,” Rommel reported in a Facebook interview.
For about a month, the eight trainees were given advance classes in Japanese language just to get around to the culture. They also had on-the-job training on operating heavy equipment like backhoe, fork lift, grinder, among others. They will undergo one-year training in Nagoya before being deployed to three other Japanese city plants.
Their daily grind includes waking up as early as 5:00 am and going to the site on a bicycle at around 7:00 a.m. After a daily exercise, they attend a meeting to prepare for the workload for the day. They also attend mass in Japanese in a Catholic church nearest their quarters.
The trainees signed into a 3-year technical internship contract in preparation for the full swing operation of AKTIO Philippines. Upon their return to Cebu, these trainees are encouraged to pursue the bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship through CITE.
In May 2018, a CITE team composed of Mr. Benjie Wong, Mr. Johnry Gac-ang, Mr. Marlon Valencia, and Mr. Bonifacio Mercado Jr. was sent to Japan to visit the main plants in Tokyo and Nagoya to further study the training, operations, culture, and business models of AKTIO.
To keep the program running as intended, the partnership is poised to create more opportunities for CITE graduates to train in Japan and experience world-class technical internship that leads to their gainful employment, improve their standard of living and help contribute to the Philippine economy.