Raising awareness of diversity among school children in Japan

STEM - 24 5 月 2023

As part of our Sustainability approach, Infineum Japan signed a partnership agreement with local authorities in Ohta City, Tokyo, to trial educational programmes aimed not only at inspiring children to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) but also at raising awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As Infineum’s multicultural diversity is highly valued in Japan, a group of volunteers in Tokyo teamed up with colleagues in Singapore to give students a unique opportunity to experience diversity in the workplace.

During the workshop, pupils were connected via video call with the team in Singapore asking questions about their culture, habits, and childhood memories, to practise their English in informal conversations which are normally not included in the formal school curriculum.

As part of the activity, the team in Japan went on to present the different aspects of working in an international company like Infineum, such as organising the schedule with overseas colleagues who are in different time zones and have different holidays. They explained that English is a tool for communication, which doesn’t need to be perfect to be effective. They pointed out how diversity is a strength, as having different ways of thinking, living, and working, helps generate new ideas, and what’s more… it’s fun to learn about differences.

Our Sustainability Director Maurizio Abbondanza (pictured below) took part in the workshop too. He gave a speech about the importance of learning English, which has been instrumental for him to manage teams across multiple countries. He said: “As a non-Japanese, this was a magnificent diverse experience for me! Seeing the children so engaged in the dialogues and the exercise, and all our colleagues from Japan and Singapore working together to bring the key messages to life for them was just wonderful!”

Technical Sales Executive Manager Masayuki Yamanaka said: “I am truly honoured to have participated in this activity and proud that we were able to make such a positive impact in our local community allowing children to learn what diversity is in real life. Japan is a homogeneous country where people rarely meet other cultures and use foreign languages in their daily life. So, the children were very excited to meet our colleagues from Singapore and learn more about their life. The schoolteachers gave us very positive feedback as they observed changes in students’ behaviour. Before the session diversity was just a word for them, but then they really grasped the meaning of it through first-hand experience, becoming more considerate of differences and more willing to listen to others.”

Japan Driveline Deployment team leader Tsuyoshi Matsui said: “Through this collaboration with our colleagues in Singapore, we’ve been able to showcase the diversity of Infineum’s cultures and the positive outcomes that come from bringing together a range of perspectives, experiences, and expertise. This session also provided the students with opportunities to use English not as a school subject but as a communication tool. It’s been wonderful to see the students benefitting from the sessions and enjoying themselves, and we are proud to have worked together in the One Infineum spirit to make it happen.

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