Leaders September 2014

Making the grade

Education, recruitment and BBA judges

As children and young people go back to school—whether for a new term in Japan or a new academic year in the UK—one can’t help but be affected by the buzz. From news and advertising to social media and sales, there is the sense of a new start.

Among those eager to pick up their studies anew will surely be the students who participated on the UK-Japan Young Scientist Workshop Programme this summer.

The initiative, which involves small groups of students from both countries working and living together, uses science as a cultural bridge to promote wider education (page 16).

This month, at a special event celebrating the achievements of the decade-long programme, I had the privilege to meet some participants.

Having recently completed workshops at Tohoku University, the students’ newfound enthusiasm for science, and passion for learning about each other and the world around them through exchange, was infectious.

What’s more, the programme is popular among girls as well as boys; good news for efforts to improve diversity in science-related fields.

Changing places
Staying with the theme of diversity, women may be particularly pleased to read September’s article on efforts to help ikumen, fathers who are active in raising their children, (page 30).

No doubt spurred by the rise of the term in the media, the government and local businesses are supporting father-friendly campaigns. Given the positive impact on mothers wishing to return to, or stay at their jobs, women will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on developments.

Opportunity knocks
Turning to the job market, the future looks promising, according to experts featured in our industry special this month (page 33).

Renewed confidence in the improving economy is resulting in demand for specialist staff across the majority of key industrial sectors. British firms in Japan are at the forefront of the jobs market, using their experience to provide the best candidates.

Judges unveiled
Speaking of top candidates, have you decided who to nominate for the upcoming British Business Awards on 14 November? Just before publication, the BCCJ kindly confirmed the names of this year’s judges.

Representing a range of industries, they have experience in the communications, government, business and nonprofit sectors:

  • Keiko Akaho, section editor, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun
  • William Saito, special advisor to the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
  • Philippe Fauchet, president, GlaxoSmithKline Japan
  • Sue Hunt, director, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; global ambassador for global leadership progamme Flourish
  • Richard Boggis-Rolfe, chairman, Odgers Berndston

We look forward to putting the judges through their paces in the forthcoming issue.