By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) recently conducted information sessions for potential applicants about the Engineering and Planning Development Program (EPDP) during career fairs held in Yokohama, Japan. The command’s training division, with support of its Master Labor Contract (MLC) manpower division, ran a session at Pacifico Yokokama and at the Mynavi Room (Yokohama Branch), March 16 and April 13, 2016, respectively.
SRF-JRMC provides ship maintenance and modernization for Commander, Naval Forces Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet using advanced industrial techniques while keeping the 7th Fleet operationally ready.
“To sustain SRF-JRMC’s workforce, we are recruiting additional technicians into the EPDP,” said Training Division Supervisory Training Technician Kazuo Akimoto in the opening brief at Mynavi Room. Akimoto also touched on the applicant selection process, expectations and the concepts behind the math and English entrance exams.
In April 2015, SRF-JRMC launched its first EPDP class. Because it was so successful, SRF-JRMC launched a second EPDP class this April. This supports SRF-JRMC’s long-range initiative, while the command continuously strengthens, cultivates and sustains its workforce.
There are currently eleven positions available for the next incoming EPDP class. They are categorized into five job types: production control specialists, naval architecture, maritime, electrical and electronics engineering technicians.
“We previously held a preliminary event in March,” said MLC Manpower Division Management Analyst Shintaro Okabe. “At first, I was a little concerned about the turnout, but I would say today’s result is fairly satisfactory. I hope we will be able to develop this program to perfection.”
At the April recruitment event, more than 30 potential applicants came to the morning and afternoon sessions and inquired of the positions, work culture and career plans. At the beginning of each session, attendees watched informative videos about the Yokosuka Naval Base, the MLC, the U.S. Navy, EPDP and other jobs. Afterward, they were briefed about SRF-JRMC’s general duties. In the latter half of each session, engineering department representatives welcomed attendees and addressed their questions. Representatives included a chief design engineer, planning and estimating chief planner and two current EPDP trainees.
“As a senior EPDP trainee, I am able to answer attendees’ questions with confidence,” said Planning and Estimating Division Production Control Clerk Nozomu Aoki. “I advised them how they should prepare for the job interview and what the training was like, and so on.”
Another senior EPDP trainee, Engineering Division Marine Engineering Aide Fumio Iwami helped familiarize the attendees with the program. “Almost all of them were interested in what questions are asked in the job interview, and they also showed avid interest in English training,” said Iwami.
“I study a field regarding maritime equipment in college,” said one of the participants. “I am hunting for jobs related to my interest and study, but jobs on base seem more exciting than working at ‘ordinary’ Japanese companies.”
During the event, Manpower Division took applications for a guided tour around the command’s shops, dry docks and even onboard USS Antietam (CG 54). According to Okabe, many submitted requests to learn more about the jobs.
The command has another training curriculum called the Apprentice Program, in which less experienced personnel are hired and receive a four-year education to become skilled production shop workers. In contrast, EPDP applicants are required to know the basic principles of engineering, mechanics, electronics and structural or naval architecture.
To ensure that SRF has the right workforce to accomplish the command’s mission, the command annually recruits people capable of completing the rigorous EPDP program. In four years’ time, the trainees become skilled specialists in their respective trades under classroom instruction, supervisors’ mentorship and on-the-job training. Additionally, offsite training could be offered to acquire certifications necessary for the job.
Job fairs focus on providing participants with the information they need and encourage them to apply for a variety of SRF-JRMC job positions. They reliably and effectively promote employment at the command, with a wide range of occupations spanning over 170 job titles. These events continue to attract many local community members who seek job opportunities on base.