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Left:Yoshihisa Mashiko of Hitachi, Ltd.'s Hitachi Works uses a lathe in preparation for the national championships.
Right:Takayuki Akatsuka of Hitachi Plant Technologies, Ltd. took the gold medal in CNC Machining.
The WorldSkills Competitions are held every two years, with men and women age 22 and under representing their countries in 40 categories.
The 38th competition was held in Helsinki, Finland in May 2005. Japan's contingent included five Hitachi Group employees who won in the national championships. Yoshiyuki Akatsuka of Hitachi Plant Technologies, Ltd. and Kazutoshi Onuki of Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation both won gold medals in the world competition, marking the fourth year in a row Hitachi has taken home the gold.
All five team members are graduates of Hitachi Senior Technical School, a fully accredited fulltime vocational high school whose graduates are assigned to Hitachi Group companies, and represent the future of manufacturing at Hitachi.
Kazutoshi Onuki of Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation on his way to a gold medal in Mechanical Engineering CADD. He has also won the national championships two years running.
Hitachi has sent more than 2,000 people to the WorldSkills Competition. We regard it as an important venue for developing both products and people. Winning requires the technical skill, broad creative thinking, and clear judgment connected to making high-quality, dependable products.
The Hitachi Group selects team members from new employees at each production facility and gives them two to three years of training. Members live together with instructors, mostly former participants themselves, and interact with them in practical sessions modeled on the actual competition. The training polishes the members' skills and spirit, and helps instructors improve their leadership skills.
The decline of skilled technicians in manufacturing is becoming a societal problem, but skills at Hitachi are passed down through this kind of training and generationtranscending teamwork. The same holds true for Group companies and overseas production facilities not participating in the WorldSkills Competition. Kazutoshi Onuki remarks, "Winning a gold medal was a major goal, and I want to make the most of this experience, keep studying, and help make great products for Hitachi." Hitachi, too, will continue to devote itself to the job of making things and training people, and ensuring the quality and dependability of all its products.
(Published in July 2006)