Fostering Tomorrow's Engineers Through Yamaha Motor Programs
These classes include:
Engine Disassembly/Assembly Workshop
A popular fixture for over 20 years.
Discovering the Wonders of Boating
Learning about the principles that allow boats to float
Wind-Powered Car Workshop
Building a car that moves forward into the wind
An Introduction to robot cars
The Engine Disassembly/Assembly Workshops is the oldest of the classes and remains its most popular. For more than 20 years, this hands-on class has participants take apart and reassemble a real engine while learning about the working mechanisms and principles. The names of each part and its role in the engine's workings are also covered. The program was started in 2002 by a group of volunteers at Yamaha Motor headquarters. They called themselves the Omoshiro Engine Lab, and to date, more than 14,000 children and their guardians have enjoyed this firsthand experience of Monozukuri.
SAIKI, Naoto from Yamaha's Robotics Business Unit regularly teaches at these events. Saiki, who joined the company in 2022, was a participant when he was 10. His career began with Yamaha Motor when he joined the Omoshiro Engine Lab group. He now gives back to the program he credits with kindling his interest in mechanical engineering.
"I took apart this engine for the first time as a 10-year-old and have done it many times since," Saiki explains. "But even now, as an adult, there are still lessons and realisations, but it's a lot of fun simultaneously." His words convey his sense of fulfilment through helping with the program.
KOSUGI, Naoki (Automotive Development Section) is in his third year with Yamaha and is a fellow workshop graduate. "I joined the class with my brother, who is four years older than me, but I may have just been getting in his way," he recalls laughing. Kosugi volunteers in activities targeting university students, contributing to developing future engineers differently from Saiki.
Saiki and Kosugi's first hand experience as youngsters fostered their interest in Monozukuri and helped them decide their future. They went on to sharpen their skills and expertise in their respective fields, aspiring to become engineers since their school days. Saiki now works on omnidirectional movement with robots, while Kosugi focuses on controlling EV motors. Both continue to enjoy Monozukuri in their job domains today.
To provide young students with a further steppingstone towards a career with true Monozukuri, Yamaha recently started more advanced classes where older junior high school students can disassemble and reassemble a 125cc engine. This workshop has them assemble and mount an engine into a frame, then kickstart it into life to finalise the experience. Participants learn how an engine works and then feel the Kando* when the engine fires up.
Twenty years ago, a falling interest in science and machines became an issue in Japan. Yamaha employee volunteers started the Engine Disassembly/Assembly Workshop, which hit the mark.
(Kando: The simultaneous feelings of deep satisfaction and intense excitement that we experience when we encounter something of exceptional value).