Challenging out-of-date stereotypes about career choices

Yang Meiping
Yuan Qiang says more schools are embracing skills training after he became the first person from Shandong Province to win a WorldSkills Competition gold medal.
Yang Meiping

Editor’s note:

The 46th WorldSkills Competition, a biennial global vocational contest, will be held in Shanghai in September 2021. Three previous winners of WorldSkills awards who have been named ambassadors for the event share their personal stories to inspire more young people to learn vocational skills.

Challenging out-of-date stereotypes about career choices
Ti Gong

Yuan Qiang

Yuan Qiang, 23, is happy to see the changes that happened in Shandong Province after he won a gold medal at the 44th WorldSkills Competition.

“My college has developed more strength in skills such as print media technology, plumbing and heating, water technology and information network cabling,” he said of the school where he now teaches. “Other schools in the province have, too.”

Yuan started his six-year study of modern manufacturing engineering in 2012, after an unsatisfactory performance in the high school entrance exam.

“Our students are trained to address the real needs of enterprises, and they usually find work immediately upon graduation,” he said.

He began training for the WorldSkills Competition in October 2015, and went on to win the gold medal in October 2017 in the category of Industrial Control.

According to Yuan, that category tests technical skills such as designing circuitry, installing conduits, troubleshooting and programming.

“All the projects in the competition spring from real life and work, though many are not regarded by Chinese parents as good career choices,” he said. “But I think things are changing. Our government has been attaching greater importance to vocational training and education.”

He added, “I now see many parents more willing to have their children learn skills and become high-end blue-collar workers. I hope as an ambassador, I can raise the public awareness of the competition and promote wider respect for vocational skills.”

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