Foreign firms create pathways to help kids, women escape poverty through employment

Supporting poor young people with vocational training, internship positions and job opportunities
Edited by Hu Jun and Zhong Youyang.

As the Chinese saying goes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." 

To boost employment for the poor, China has redoubled its efforts through various means such as offering free training in vocational skills, strengthening collaboration in the labor market between eastern and western regions, supporting leading enterprises and workshops to create more jobs, encouraging entrepreneurial individuals to start businesses in their hometowns or villages, and creating public welfare jobs for the rest of the unemployed. 

According to the country's latest white paper on poverty alleviation, the number of poor laborers finding employment rose to 32.43 million in 2020 from 12.27 million in 2015. 

In the following three cases, foreign-invested companies will share their different approaches to empowering employment, including providing training of vocational and traditional handicraft skills as well as internship positions and job opportunities.

Foreign firms create pathways to help kids, women escape poverty through employment
Ti Gong

L'Oréal Foundation's non-profit training program "Beauty for a Better Life" provides free professional skills training in the beauty industry for relatively disadvantaged groups.

L'Oréal: Beauty For A Better Life

L'Oréal Foundation's non-profit training program "Beauty for a Better Life" aims to provide free professional skills training in the beauty industry for relatively disadvantaged groups. Since its launch in 2009, the program has been implemented in over 30 countries and regions, benefiting more than 10,000 people.

In 2015, L'Oréal China collaborated with China Women's Development Foundation and set a target to benefit at least 8,000 disadvantaged women nationwide by 2020. By June 2019, the project had established 23 training sites across nine Chinese cities, providing training for more than 5,000 women.

As the first partner doing training for the "Beauty for a Better Life" project in China, and the only one specializing in hairdressing skills, Polus International College in Sichuan Province has conducted five training classes in partnership with L'Oréal over the past five years. A total of 150 women have received training and 83 percent of them have managed to find a job upon completion of the course.

The sustainability of its public welfare projects is always a concern for L'Oréal Group. Through "Beauty for a Better Life," one of L'Oréal Foundation's pillar projects and an important part of the group's "Sharing Beauty with All – Sustainability Development 2020" commitment, the group hoped to realize its ultimate goal to enable 100,000 low-income people to get employed.

Foreign firms create pathways to help kids, women escape poverty through employment
Ti Gong

Schindler China initiates school-enterprise cooperation to provide opportunities for young people in poverty-stricken areas.

Schindler: Boosting Employment Through School-enterprise Cooperation

Schindler Group, the world's leading supplier of elevators, escalators, moving walks and related services, attaches great importance to vocational education and training to boost the development of the elevator industry in China. While continuously cultivating talent, the company remains keen to creating life-changing opportunities for young people in poverty-stricken areas. 

In 2007, Schindler China took the lead in establishing an in-depth school-enterprise cooperation in the industry, joining forces with vocational schools to launch majors covering elevator engineering and technology and establishing elevator academies and training bases throughout the country. Up to now, Schindler has collaborated with nearly 100 schools in China and invested more than 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million) in school equipment.

Incomplete statistics show that Schindler China has provided about 7,000 internship positions for students from partner schools over the past five years. These include more than 2,500 technical apprentices mainly to be sent for frontline jobs such as elevator maintenance, installation and production. The company also offers nearly 500 job openings each year for graduates of partner schools.

In 2020, with the support of Shanghai Foreign Investment Association, Schindler China cooperated with Shanghai Smile Foundation and Shanghai Real Estate School to get 16 middle school graduates from Yuanyang County in Honghe Prefecture of Yunnan Province enrolled in SRES to study "Intelligent Building" as their major.

In addition to providing living subsidies for the 16 students, Schindler will also offer them opportunities for intra and extra-curricular exchanges and interactions, conducted online and offline, as well as support for curriculum content and internship opportunities to help students build professional skills that will ultimately enable them to escape poverty through employment.

Foreign firms create pathways to help kids, women escape poverty through employment
Ti Gong

Starbucks launches the "Speed-up Plan for Mothers in Village" program in partnership with the China Women's Development Foundation. 

Starbucks: Speed-Up Plan For Mothers In Village

In May 2020, Starbucks, in partnership with the China Women's Development Foundation, launched the "Speed-up Plan for Mothers in Village" program. The project plans to donate US$1 million to provide more than 1,500 impoverished mothers in the countryside with about 22,000 sessions of specialized skills training over three years. 

Focusing on the improvement of traditional handicraft skills, the training enables the mothers to work from home. While revitalizing the economic development in villages, the project proactively promotes the protection and inheritance of the intangible cultural heritage in China.

Under the project, a batch of 10 "Mom's Cooperatives" have been established in poverty-stricken villages with intangible cultural heritage (ICH) resources. 

They include Duohua Embroidery and silverware in Taijiang County of Guizhou, batiks in Danzhai County of Guizhou, pottery and porcelain in Jingdezhen of Jiangxi, buhu painting in Fengning of Hebei, leather carving of Hulunbuir and ear pillow of Ongniud Banner in Inner Mongnolia, peasant painting in Dongfeng County of Jilin and Li Nationality Brocade in Baisha City of Hainan. 

Training on traditional handicraft skills, operation management, and sales and marketing is offered at the cooperatives.

Also, a number of Starbucks stores in 10 first and second-tier cities will be selected as venues for ICH-themed activities where customers will get a better understanding and a personal experience of Chinese traditional culture.

Through various forms, such as product exhibitions, craftswomen's narrations and on-site learning activities, the project will bring the intangible cultural heritages closer to customers, especially younger generations, and boost sustainable development of traditional handicrafts.

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