With primary skillsets, technical knowledge, training and proficiency in the Japanese language and culture, the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) stands to be one of the most advantageous career paths for Indian youth in Japan. The program helps candidates build their skills and to seek employment in Japan in various in-demand sectors like healthcare, automotive, agriculture, and manufacturing among others.
To learn more about the growing opportunities for Indian youth in Japan, the importance of learning the Japanese language and culture, and emerging job roles in various industry sectors in Japan, we spoke to Dr. Krishnan Narayanan, CEO of Nihon Edutech.
Below are a few excerpts from our conversation, you can watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel.
Q: Please tell us about your organization, Nihon Edutech and your collaboration with NSDC under TITP.
A. Ten years ago, together with other trustees, we set up a polytechnic college called RECT Polytechnic in Tamil Nadu’s southern region to give back to the community. We were then suggested to help students with Japanese language training and to send non-IT people to Japan. This could be easily done as I had a background of working in Japan and proficiency in Japanese.
That is when we established Nihon Edutech. We opened a training facility in Chennai with a group of Japanese and local teachers. Initially, we started training students/ interns mostly from ITI and technical training backgrounds.
Soon, we collaborated with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the nodal organisation to support TITP between India and Japan. We connected with NSDC in April 2018 and were able to send 15 candidates from India under the TITP program for the first time.
Q: What is the role of a Sending Organization and a Supervising Organisation under TITP?
A. A Sending Organization (SO) selects the right candidates for various job roles, trains them, and helps in sending candidates from India to Japan. Our primary focus is on Japanese language training, but we also do domain training in caregiving and auto mechanic training, depending on the need.
In Japan, we coordinate with a receiving organisation or a Supervising Organisation (SVO) that oversees receiving candidates coming from India.
Role of a Supervising Organization (SVO) in TITP:
- The SVO’s look after the candidates while they work in Japan for a period of three years. They take care of the candidates’ accommodation, their needs and transportation.
- SVO’s also ensure that the organisations that employ the candidates are well-organised and managed.
All the candidates we send from India to Japan are hired by authorised companies. For example, we collaborated with MAXELL, a well-known battery manufacturing company. We sent 40 candidates to work in MAXELL factories on two different shifts in two of their facilities.
Q: How can Sending Organization get started under TITP?
A. In Nihon Edutech, we have many people who speak Japanese and communicate with customers in Japan. Therefore, it was easier for us to network and get started as a Sending Organization.
Critical aspects for a Sending Organization (SO) to get started under TITP:
- Having a presence or a partnership in Japan
- Being prepared to teach the Japanese language
- The capability of performing documentation in Japanese
It is important to read and speak Japanese as we process visas, conduct business, and communicate in the Japanese language.
Also read: TITP – An opportunity for Indian youth to get on-the-job training in Japan – https://nationalskillsnetwork.in/titp-an-opportunity-for-indian-youth-to-get-on-the-job-training-in-japan/
Q: Could you share a few insights on Japanese language training?
A. Japanese language training is being conducted in India for many years now. In the 1990s, many organisations could send candidates even without proficiency in the Japanese language to Japan. We have worked for Japanese multinational companies that sympathise with basic English-speaking mediums. However, over the next 15 years, Japan began working with China, and thus, the demand for learning the Japanese language increased.
The Japanese language is a crucial component of the skilling ecosystem. It has five levels. The N5 level is the entry level for all candidates. We teach up to N4 level for candidates, which is a sufficient level of proficiency to work as an intern in Japan. The Japanese language training takes about six months.
The Japanese and Indian languages are neutral in grammar and pronunciation. After training in the Japanese language, we noticed that candidates feel more at ease and fluent in speaking Japanese than English.
Q: What are some of the common challenges faced by candidates during their stay in Japan?
A. There were a few challenges initially, particularly during COVID-19. Since candidates in the TITP are expected to spend at least three years in Japan, going on leave and returning to India is challenging. However, there were times when the candidates could come back to India in case, they were homesick or their parents were ill.
There were certain disciplinary issues as well. For example, people in Japan do not take leaves instantly. Since people work in small teams, everything is constantly planned and communicated through the group. So, if someone takes a leave of absence at the same time as someone else, it becomes difficult. To avoid such issues, we stay in constant contact with SVO and our administrative team to offer our assistance and moral support to the candidates frequently. If there are candidates who come to India for brief visits, we assist them in going back and forth without any difficulties.
Q: When it comes to job roles, are there equal opportunities for men and women in Japan?
A. There are many opportunities for women in various sectors. For instance, in the manufacturing sector, many women work alongside machines. Women have the same opportunities as men in the manufacturing sector.
Additionally, there are emerging fields like food processing that seek more women than men. Even in the field of caregiving, women are considered better suited for that job role as the demand for caregivers is high.
Q: What are some of the in-demand industries in Japan with employment opportunities?
A. Presently, there is a high demand in the sectors of construction and agriculture. As a result of ageing, many farms run by the elderly require assistance. The agriculture sector has two components – crops and cattle. However, crops are our primary focus. Due to the weather conditions in Japan, our candidates are trained to primarily operate in greenhouse farms, which are better suited for growing vegetables and flowers.
We are currently affiliated with Kochi Prefecture. For the first time, we sent two female candidates to the Kochi Prefecture in Japan to work in the agriculture sector. To prepare the candidates for their time in Japan by teaching both the language and farm work, Kochi Prefecture is planning on establishing a farm in India by 2023. Therefore, with a multi-skill model in place, we will be deploying candidates who have completed both Japanese language training and skill training in agriculture.
We have been focusing on training and skilling the candidates and have sent more than 200 candidates in the manufacturing sector alone. We recently began to send the candidates as care workers as there is a huge demand for this job role owing to Japan’s ageing population and high demand for caregivers.
Q: What has been the impact of TITP on Indian youth?
A. The candidates who have been to Japan as part of TITP are not only able to sustain themselves but also financially support their families in India. We also came across candidates who send their spouses for Japanese language training at our training centre, so that they can also travel to Japan along with them.
We also observed that candidates help others in the community in addition to their families and friends in enrolling in our classes. Therefore, the positive impact of TITP on the youth and community is tremendous.
Japan is also a safe country where customers treat candidates with respect. It is something that is ingrained in Japanese culture. Through TITP, people can gain a lot of knowledge. Most of the candidates who went to Japan and returned, come with several ideas, skills and knowledge and want to make a difference in their communities and to the country at large.
So far, we trained and sent 200 candidates to Japan. Today, we have 100 more candidates in the pipeline who are getting trained and waiting to be deployed in Japan.