Tears of Gratitude: 249 Graduates Stepping Out On Their Own Paths - Toyota Technical Skills Academy Graduation Ceremony


Toyota Technical Skills Academy celebrated the graduation of 249 students. Tears flowed freely as graduates expressed gratitude to their parents.

On February 20, Toyota’s in-house training school, Toyota Technical Skills Academy, held its graduation ceremony. The venue was filled with 249 graduates and their parents or guardians, and Chairman Akio Toyoda also participated.

During his years as president, he joined the graduation ceremony every year. Now this year as chairman, he decided to continue participating as an oyaji celebrating his children.

Everyone’s oyaji encouraged the graduates with a message: “There should be 249 paths, a different one for each graduate.” Perhaps this message was connected with what he said at the Toyota Group Vision in January: “Inventing our path forward, together.”

*Chairman Toyoda’s speech is available here in its entirety.

Toyota Times News covers the graduation as well as a close-up look at some graduates in the days leading up to the ceremony. See the words of gratitude young men and women troubled by adolescence had to say to their parents.

Becoming a Son to be Proud of

Raimu Okada of the high school course gave the speech as representative of the graduates. He spoke about his long-held admiration for his father who also works at Toyota and his own determination to become a Toyota employee, leading to his enrollment in the Academy.

On the podium, he spoke about days of friendly competition with classmates and about his father.

“One day, I’ll be a son my father can be proud of.” Don’t miss the father’s reaction to his son’s speech.

After giving his graduate speech, Okada shared a handshake with Chairman Toyoda

Personal advice from the Chairman himself?

During the second half of the ceremony, Chairman Toyoda and other genba leaders made time to talk to each of the 249 graduates. The graduates beamed, listening to advice from these role models in life.

One such graduate was Ririka Ando from the high school course, with a question for the Chairman.

Chairman Toyoda and Miss. Ando in friendly conversation

Ando says she will be the only woman in her new workplace. What can she do to make it a place that is welcoming to women?

Watch the second half of the video to see Chairman Toyoda’s response.

Graduation is a Day for Children and Parents to Connect

After the ceremony, the graduates went to see their attending families. During school, they lived in dorms away from their families, so they hadn’t spent time together in a long time.

Graduates offered comments like, ”My mother and father are the reason I was able to see this day.” And “Thank you for raising me.” The room was filled with tearful words of gratitude.

The graduates now set off on their 249 different paths. Don’t miss this early peek into Japan’s graduation season, brought to you by Toyota Times.