2012 Winter OE: JET Programme Participants’ Relationships with Their Contracting Organisations; Discussion Summary

This is the summary of the Winter 2012 Opinion Exchange Meeting between National AJET, the Council for Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The following is a summary of the discussion regarding the report, “JET Programme Participants’ Relationships with Their Contracting Organisations.” To access the full report, click here.

JET Programme Participants’ Relationships with Their Contracting Organisations
Written by Sabbi Topal, Sally Wals, Alan Inkster, James Kemp, Raygan Solotki, and James Thomas
Presented and Interpreted by Sally Wals

In the discussion following the presentation of this report, CLAIR and the ministries asked National AJET to use every opportunity to remind JET Programme participants of their employment status with their contracting organisations, in order to emphasize that participants are employed by their local contracting organisations rather than by the Programme itself or any other entity other than the participant’s individual contracting organisation. In order to further resolve potential misunderstandings in these kinds of working relationships, National AJET suggested creating a bilingual list of discussion points that participants could use when speaking with their employers regarding their terms and conditions or other work-related issues. CLAIR acknowledged the usefulness of this kind of document and stated they would consider supporting its publication and distribution in the future.

Additionally, it was established that the selection of JET Programme supervisors is the responsibility of the contracting organisation. National AJET acknowledged that since CLAIR is not in a position to dictate such matters, CLAIR does not provide extensive or specific guidelines about this process apart from what is already stated in the Contracting Organisation Manual provided to each local authority. However, National AJET reiterated its belief that a supervisor in any circumstances requires a certain skills set, and it was agreed that if there are problems regarding this process or relationship, then it should be discussed between the participants and their contracting organisations.

CLAIR and the ministries then suggested several topics to explore in future reports, relating both to contracting organisation relationships and others. These topics included communication effectiveness between participants and their contracting organisations; pre-departure assessment and advice for what kind of preparation was helpful and what could be improved; language course completion rates and relevant issues; and success stories of participants overcoming challenges in the workplace for contracting organizations to use in similar situations. National AJET will take these suggestions into consideration.