Foreign trainees active in automobile maintenance

Serrano (front) and Sagde perform automobile maintenance

Amidst the shortage of prospective new automotive maintenance technicians becoming a national issue, businesses and related organizations are advancing ideas for securing personnel. One factory is welcoming foreign technical trainees as “helpers”.

“Maintenance work in Japan is systematized, so it is easy to do and fun.” Filipino nationals Arjoy Acosta Serrano (36) and Ronie Kris Sarinto Sagde (32) who work at an automobile maintenance factory in Kitami, speak about job motivation with smiles.

The two Filipino nationals came to Japan about a year ago as foreign technical trainees. They work alongside Japanese maintenance technicians. According to the factory, most automobile parts have the same English names worldwide, and these two English language country nationals are a boon in that they were able to hit the ground running. The maintenance division supervisor expressed happiness at their presence, “Both have a serious attitude towards work and are a big help.”

According to the Kitami Automobile Service Promotion Association, there are currently 12 foreign technical trainees serving in automobile maintenance factories in the Okhotsk area. The maximum limit foreign nationals are allowed to stay in Japan as trainees is five years, which means that as a fundamental solution for the labor shortage issue, the cultivation of workers within Japan is absolutely essential.

According to the Kitami Branch Office of the Hokkaido District Transport Bureau, Okhotsk area people who have passed the automotive maintenance technician certification exam in these past three years is holding at around 60 people more or less yearly, but a source reports, “The absolute number of young people aiming to be maintenance technicians is low, and the chronic shortage in the Okhotsk area is not changing.”

Kitami Vocational Training School offers a maintenance technician training program, and its Automobile Maintenance Division delivers about ten graduates annually in a normal year. Job-postings reportedly come in on a level of over twice the amount of admitted students, and opportunities also reportedly come from distributors that handle large automobiles and heavy machinery. The training management section head explains, “There are tasks that require certification to perform, and companies are in a very serious situation.”


Kitami City