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As the Act on Self-reliance Support for Poor and Needy People was put into force on April 1, 2015, the national, prefectural, and municipal governments have been taking measures for assisting poor children.

The Yamada Noboru Memorial Foundation also offers support for disadvantaged children.

Objective

 The program aims to encourage children of families receiving public assistance to understand the joy in learning and importance of working to achieve objectives, with "hopes and dreams for the future" in mind, and have them attain one goal, thereby providing them with opportunities to have confidence in themselves.

Outline

 Five children in the fourth and fifth grades of elementary schools in Maebashi-shi attended the program. They visited a plant of a home builder in Numata-shi, received lectures and experienced easy carpentry jobs, and also visited a model house exhibition site. Furthermore, they had discussions on the importance of and difficulties in working at a "Job Meeting" held at a university in Maebashi-shi. The Foundation carries out this program in collaboration with Maebashi-shi, with the cooperation of the Northern Kanto branch of the Supporting Union for Practical-use of Educational Resources.

Objective

 Graduates from children's institutions often face various social and fi nancial problems upon setting up their independent living as they basically cannot receive support from their parents. This activity aims to break the cycle of poverty through offering fi nancial support for their independence by providing them with necessary home appliances free of charge.

Outline

 The Foundation gave a set of home appliances necessary for independent living (refrigerator, washing machine, microwave oven, rice cooker and vacuum cleaner) to 12 graduates from children's institutions. Home appliances are prepared with the cooperation of C.I.C. Corporation, a Yamada Denki group company engaging in the recycling business.

 The Foundation will hear opinions regarding the status and effectiveness of this support from teachers of the children's institutions from which the recipients graduated this spring. The timing for inviting applications and the selection of home appliances for the next fiscal year will be reviewed in order to sustainably continue this activity.

 B.P.C. Co., Ltd. located in Fukuoka-shi hires many severely disabled people in light of the significance of making contributions to local communities and fulfilling its social responsibility. The company was established in 1994 as a joint public-private enterprise also funded by Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka-shi, and local banks. The company receives orders for data management for printed matters and money coupons, etc. from the parent company, Best Denki, the prefecture, municipalities and schools, and serves as a model special subsidiary company of Fukuoka-shi, attracting many observers and visitors from companies and facilities for people with disabilities.

 Employees commute by car from Fukuoka-shi and neighboring areas. Of 29 employees (26 males and 3 females), 22 are people with some disabilities, such as those with an impediment to the leg who use a wheelchair or a stick, those with internal diseases, or those with hearing impairment. Basically, there is no overtime work, and the retention rate is very high as employees highly evaluate the comfortable working environment and content of the work and seldom resign. The facility is all barrier-free. Part of the parking lot has a roof for those with an impediment to the leg so that they can move into the building without using an umbrella. As the facility is located within a residential area, due consideration is given to noise during printing work and employees clean nearby parks a few times a month to deepen friendly relationships with local residents.

 B.P.C. Co., Ltd. will maintain and expand employment, while making efforts to stabilize its business, and will continuously contribute to local communities through hiring people with disabilities.

The Good Design Award is a comprehensive design-promotion system operated by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion with the aim of enriching people's lives, industries and society as a whole through selecting and commending good design out of a variety of unfolding phenomena. Yamada Wood House received the Good Design Award for its ground survey and improvement mechanism, and builder development program.

 Yamada Wood House reviewed conventional mechanisms for ground surveys for constructing new houses which had been broadly employed in the industry, and created a new system better for consumers. The company's efforts were highly evaluated.

 Previously, a single company conducted both ground survey and ground improvement work. Such practice, wherein a single company conducts a ground survey, designs ground improvements and places an order, often caused unnecessary improvement works. The whole process contained unclear parts as there was no involvement of a third party. Ground improvement works were conducted at the percentage of around 80% after ground surveys, but it is questioned whether all were truly necessary. Ground improvement works also pose such problems as an increase in cost beyond initial plans and noise during the works.

 Therefore, Yamada Wood House focused attention on the separation of companies conducting ground surveys and those conducting ground improvement works. Additionally, through the introduction of the principle of competition by making multiple companies present competitive quotes and the elimination of intermediate costs, the total cost can be reduced by around 8.5%. Yamada Wood House will further disseminate this system together with around 200 cooperative builders nationwide with which it has conducted joint purchase of materials, etc.

 Yamada Wood House reformed the conventional carpenter development system based on apprenticeship. Its program to divide the home building process into fi ve stages and have trainees intensively learn skills for each stage through repeated practice was highly evaluated.

 A labor shortage is becoming serious for craftspeople in general, not limited to carpenters. Additionally, carpentry skills are becoming polarized: high-level skills are required for shrine carpenters but only simple skills, not traditional carpentry skills, suffi ce for assembling pre-cut building materials. While high-performance houses superior in energy efficiency, quake-resistance, and durability, etc. are increasingly required, the conventional carpenter development system based on apprenticeship is rather time-consuming for training carpenters for mass production houses, which consist of many pre-cut building materials, and also falls short of securing the quality of trained carpenters.

 Yamada Wood House, jointly with Sugiuchi Home Builder in Gunma Prefecture, filed an application for a new builder development method. Under the conventional apprenticeship, a single carpenter needs to complete the whole home building process and it is diffi cult to learn and acquire skills for each stage. The new system introduces an intensive learning method by stage to enable trainees to acquire skills for the relevant stage faster, and the wage increase system in accordance with stage levels highly motivates trainees. As the whole process is divided into stages, a broader range of people, including women and elderly people, can take part in. The system enables the acquisition of certain skills in around fi ve years, although it is said to require as many as 15 years or so to mature as a professional carpenter under the conventional system. The company is planning to expand this new system nationwide by making the most of its network.