By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 3, 2017) – Nineteen apprentices completed Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC)’s four-year apprentice training program and celebrated their official graduation as journeymen.
U.S. Navy and Yokosuka Defense Office officials and SRF-JRMC leaders joined the celebration held at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Chief Petty Officer’s Club. The apprentices were awarded with certificates and plaques for their achievements.
“You each have done an incredible job in completing your apprentice program,” said SRF-JRMC Commanding Officer Capt. Garrett Farman, during his ceremonial remarks. “It has been a tremendous four years of dedication and merit, both in the classroom and at the waterfront. … You will continue to face many challenges. And, I am confident your skills will sharpen as you dedicate yourselves to be the very best in your chosen trade.”
This year, six of the graduates received the “Exceptional Performance” award, in which an apprentice from each production shop group – boiler, electric, machinery, hull and service – and the calibration shop and lifting and handling department was selected as recognized as a top graduate. The top graduates were Yuuki Takahashi, from the electronics and weapons shop; Kentaro Ishibashi, outside machine shop; Satoshi Yamaguchi, welding shop; Keisuke Sei, carpenter shop; Natsuru Marumo, calibration shop; and Taro Koyama, lifting and handling department.
Another graduate was honored with “Perseverance in English” award for the highest achievement in language training classes.
“In English training, my classmates and I became close friends,” said Hiroki Kubota, the awardee. “Sometimes we hang out together and study English, making classes that much more enjoyable.”
Since 1985, in a yearly effort to maintain its capability as a prominent naval ship repair facility, the command’s apprentice program has nurtured its trainees into skilled craftspeople.
The program requires trainees to take English training for four hours every day, a total of 320 hours during the 11-month program. Under the program, apprentices receive mentorship and on-the-job training from senior workers. They are also provided basic business skill training, such as math, continuous improvement, self-development based on Steve Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and others.
“Looking back [on] the history of SRF-JRMC, we introduced the apprentice program in October 1985,” said Masato Suzuki, the machinery group master, in his celebratory remarks. “I believe that we’ve accomplished great success in [the] development of human resources and the succession of technology through this program.”
In closing, a representative of the graduates, Kentaro Ishibashi, from the outside machine shop, addressed the audience.
“If we never forget the SRF-JRMC mission, ‘keep the 7th Fleet operationally ready,’ and its motto ‘nandemo dekimasu,’ [we can do anything] then we will continuously improve our skills and knowledge,” Ishibashi said.