A sustainable future through learning
Learning something completely new can be challenging at any age but discovering a hidden talent or passion can be equally exciting. Recognising the leading role today's youth will play in creating fully sustainable societies of tomorrow, Nissan provides a variety of educational programmes for children around the world as part of Nissan's aim to help create a cleaner, safer, and more inclusive society where all people feel healthy, happy and engaged.
With initiatives that approach education from a child's perspective, Nissan encourages young learners to engage with environmental issues while having fun - asking them to think about present and future solutions to society's biggest challenges. Creating opportunities to think and act independently through dialogue with instructors and interaction with model cars, Nissan employees have developed the educational programmes for children to flourish, encourage learning and open a world of possibilities for the future.
Sharing knowledge and helping communities
In the hope of passing on the vast knowledge and technology Nissan has accumulated over decades of automotive manufacturing to younger generations, active involvement in local communities is key. To best utilise its expertise as an automaker for the broader benefit of society, Nissan has focused its efforts on three key areas: environmental consciousness, traffic safety and diversity and inclusion. The third, diversity and inclusion, is an integral part of Nissan's identity as a company.
To help meet the needs of local communities, Nissan engages in a wide range of activities. As an example, educational programmes are being implemented to further children's understanding of the environment and manufacturing, among other areas. As the leaders of tomorrow, Nissan aims to provide these children with the skills and knowledge needed in the future.
Nissan began providing environmental classes for local elementary schools in Japan in 2000 – these classes evolved into the Waku-Waku Eco School—waku-waku meaning exciting in Japanese in 2008. Since its inception, more than 100,000 children in Japan have participated in this programme. Nissan employees volunteer to give lectures on climate change and other environmental issues while using experiments with model electric cars and test drives of the Nissan LEAF, to encourage children to increase their knowledge of the world around them.
The popularity of the programme stems from the fact that children are able to talk directly with Nissan employees and equally the volunteer instructors have the opportunity to view their work from a new perspective. As Katsunori Tsuchiya, head of planning and implementation at the Nissan Waku-Waku Eco School, told us, "Through our efforts, we can change the future. We should work together for a future in which everyone can live happily."
Even during the pandemic, the programme has been able to continue through virtual classes and teaching aides such as model cars.
Nissan also offers other outreach programmes such as the Design Waku-Waku Studio, where current car designers teach children about the fundamentals of design, as well as the Nissan Monozukuri Caravan, where children can experience the elements of bespoke manufacturing. More than 20,000 children combined have participated in these two programmes.
Initiatives outside Japan
The programmes that started in Japan are now developing overseas with their own twist.
For instance, at the Nissan Sunderland plant in the UK, the Nissan Skills Foundation, which was established in 2014, has welcomed more than 65,000 participants. Through a wide variety of programmes centered on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), the foundation's aim is to help develop the future generation of leaders in the manufacturing industry.
The Monozukuri Caravan is also now operational in the region, welcoming more than 4,500 elementary school students a year. To mark the Sunderland plant's 35th anniversary in June 2021, Nissan announced that the programme would open to students in all schools across the U.K.'s northeast. By expanding activities in this key region, the programme aims to provide young learners with an interest in manufacturing with an insight into the process.
Nissan's efforts extend to China as well, where one million elementary students in more than 750 schools in 15 provinces have participated in the Nissan Dream Classroom since its opening in 2013. In partnership with UNESCO, the contents and scale of the programme have been expanded year after year.
The curriculum covers manufacturing, design, Nissan-specific technologies, and of course the environment. Two of the most popular courses are the "Eco Class," in which students learn about the mechanisms of electric motors and then conduct experiments using model cars. The second is the "Intelligent Driving Class" in which students learn all about Nissan's "ProPILOT" driving assistance technology using programmed model cars.
In addition, online classes have been actively introduced to provide even more children in China with opportunities to learn.
The ambition for children to learn and grow is universal as is the motivation to ensure children have fun while discovering something new. With this in mind, Nissan's volunteers and coordinators around the world strive to make this a reality.
Let's study at home!
Nissan offers a variety of content to help children learn about cars in an entertaining and unique way – all from the comfort of their homes.
Click the links below to learn something new!