RCE Okayama - 2021

ESD University and Technical Vocational Education and Training College Student Internship Program
Basic Information
Title of project : 
ESD University and Technical Vocational Education and Training College Student Internship Program
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Okayama
Contributing organization(s) : 
Contributing organizations for the program in 2021 are as follow:
Okayama City; Okayama NPO Center; Kominkans (Local Learning Centers); General Incorporated Associations "SGSG", "Kitanagase Area Management", and "Hot Okayama"; NPOs "Okayama Children Center", "Tabula Rasa" and "Youth Support Community Torinosu"; and Social Welfare Service Corporation "Houon Sekizenkai".
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Hirohisa Iwata (Mr.)
Organizational Affiliation: 
Okayama ESD Promotion Commission (Secretariat at SDGs & ESD Promotion Division, Co-Production Bureau, Okayama City)
Format of project: 
PowerPoint, PDF, and video (link to the website)
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Additional resources: 
Video about the ESD University and Professional Training College Student Internship Program:
"Okayama ESD Project Fundamental Plan 2015-2019" and "Okayama ESD Project Fundamental Plan 2020-2030"
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Okayama City
Address of focal point institution for project: 
1-1-1 Daiku, Kita-ku, Okayama City, 700-8544, Japan
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Okayama City is located in the southwest of Japan, in the north shore of the Seto Inland Sea, serving as a major regional transportation hub. In the modern era, it has acquired business, educational, cultural, political and administrative functions and has the facilities necessary for a comfortable lifestyle. In 2009, it was designated as one of the ordinance-designated cities with a greater authority. The city has urban, residential and rural areas with a population of roughly 720,000. It has a variety of geographic characteristics from mountains to shores with different industries such as agriculture, fishery and commerce.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
One of the challenges Okayama City faces is expanding aging population, especially in the surrounding areas. People who play a central role in ESD/SDGs programs based at Kominkans (Community Learning Centers) are mainly the elderly. It is expected that young people take more initiatives in the society more than ever. Getting young people to have a global point of view, pay more attention to local issues and participate in activities to create the sustainable society are critical.
May, 2021
There is no doubt that educating the youth is important to create the sustainable society. Our Internship program inspires students in universities and TVET colleges to learn more about global and local issues through their work experience. The Okayama ESD Promotion Commission has the network of various stakeholders including educational institutes, organizations and social enterprises. The secretariat of the Commission can match the students who are inspired and become interested in social issues and the organizations or corporations that would like to reach out to the public and promote their activities; otherwise they cannot find each other.
In our internship program, the secretariat provides the students with comprehensive education. First, it holds a few pre-sessions before their internship starts, lecturing them about the SDGs and global and local issues. Then, the students go work in the matched organizations or corporations, and they learn the local issues and possible solutions from hands-on experience. Finishing the internship, there are sessions that they share their experiences among students and make the presentations. After the program, the youth is motivated and actively get involved in social activities.
The objective of the program is to give the youth the opportunities to learn about the problems in local communities, have global perspectives, and have work experience in the organizations or corporations that tackle problems and provide some solutions to the community. After the program, they can understand the roles of various stakeholders and will be responsible members of the society to take actions for sustainability in the future.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The program was organized by Okayama NPO Center, entrusted by the Okayama ESD Promotion Commission (secretariat at Okayama City Office). It contacted total 27 universities and TVET colleges in Okayama and neighboring cities and distributed pamphlets in May and June. A number of candidates contacted, and 23 students were accepted. In August, the pre-sessions were held with the lectures about the SDGs and global and local problems. Students were matched to the organizations that they were most interested, and were assigned to work. They worked as interns for 7 days in August and September. After finishing the internship, they made their presentations to share their experiences. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the presentation sessions were held online.
Size of academic audience: 
This year, 23 university and TVET college students joined the internship program. The ESD internship program has been held annually, and since the launch of the program in 2015, about 125 students in total have benefited.
After their internship experience, they were gathered to discuss their experiences in a session and learned from each other. Then they made a presentation about the issues they learned during the internship, and shared their thoughts with their fellow students and the organizations that they worked for.
Also, about half a year later, the students will be contacted for the follow-up questions in order to find out how they have evolved after the experience. In the previous years, many of the participated students are still in touch with the organizations they have worked for, and show their enthusiasm to contribute to build a sustainable society in any way.
Lessons learned: 
Every year, we see the different tendency of the types of organizations that the students want to participate in. It is hard to foresee and prepare the organizations or corporations to sign up for the program in advance. Also, matching the students with the ones that are not far from their interests can be difficult.
The good sign is that the number of the participants and inquiries are increasing every year. Even in the COVID 19 pandemic, more participants joined than ever. This makes us feel hopeful about the youth playing more active roles in the near future.
Key messages: 
To create a sustainable society, educating the youth is important. They can learn about social issues from their work experience at the organizations that tackle the social problems and provide some solutions, far more than the textbooks. They can understand the issues better and involve in the communities more.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
The program was developed according to the "Okayama ESD Project Fundamental Plan 2015-2019" by the Okayama ESD Promotion Commission (Secretariat at Okayama City Office) and has been carried over under the "Okayama ESD Project Fundamental Plan 2020-2030".
The funding is from the Okayama ESD Promotion Commission, whose budget is originally funded by Okayama City.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon 20210811_presession1.jpg (950.35 KB) Lecture at the pre-session in ESD University and Technical Vocational Education and Training College Student Internship Program RCE Okayama
Image icon 20210811_presession2.jpg (2.1 MB) Discussion at the pre-session in ESD University and Technical Vocational Education and Training College Student Internship Program RCE Okayama
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: