Driving engines of industry

Vocational school graduates in Pudong can be the engines of change in Shanghai and drive the economy forward as China strives to become a world leader in industry.
Driving engines of industry
Wang Rongjiang

Students from a German vocational school take part in a working skill competition in the category of electric equipment, installment and repair, in Shanghai in May. The annual tournament in the city attracted 385 students from local vocational schools, as well as five from Germany this year. 

Vocational school graduates in Pudong can be the engines of change in Shanghai and drive the economy forward as China strives to become a world leader in industry.

Students get more opportunities for higher education amid the new area's effort to cultivate more skilled personnel who are full of knowledge and have the potential for future development.

Channels for vocational school graduates and technical school students to continue their studies have been long established in Pudong.

The industry-education cooperation, as well as the access to higher education, is the major way for Pudong to build its modern vocational education system, according to the vocational education group of the new area.

At present, channels for further studies between seven Pudong-based technical schools and a number of technical institutes have been established, which involve Shanghai No. 2 Light Industry School, Shanghai Aviation Service School and their counterparts Shanghai Second Polytechnic University and Shanghai Civil Aviation College.

At the same time, graduates from four vocational schools, including Shanghai Pudong Foreign Affairs Service School and Shanghai Pharmaceutical School, get opportunities to study at Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, Shanghai Institute of Technology, among others to get their college degree.

Channels for further studies at technical institutes is expected to cover 30 percent of the technical school majors in Pudong, while around 10 percent of career training in local vocational schools will have access to college studies by 2020.

The group was founded in June 2010 and includes 14 vocational and technical schools in Pudong, 14 colleges and universities, 25 enterprises, eight trade associations and social organizations as well as government agencies and research institutes.

Pudong is promoting a wider and deeper cooperation among government, enterprises and schools through the platform of the group to build a multilateral cooperation network focusing on training, curriculum development, teaching, practice, employment and faculty.

More than 400 enterprises have taken part in the cooperation and built 16 practice bases.

Driving engines of industry
Wang Rongjiang

The annual working skill competition in Shanghai has 10 categories including hairdressing, nursing, accounting and flower arrangement.

Meanwhile, about 27 million students are studying at more than 12,000 vocational schools and colleges in the country, spanning all skill categories.

From 2010 to 2015, the government's financial contribution to vocational education doubled. And it will no doubt increase more in the coming years. Currently there are 165 million skilled workers in China, of whom 45 million are highly skilled.

It was just months before, Shanghai hosted 15 events of the China International Skills Competition 2017 at the World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, which included joinery, hairdressing, restaurant service, mobile robotics and electronics.

It is the largest skills competition ever held in China. China was accepted as a WorldSkills International (WSI) member in 2010 and started participating in WorldSkills Competition from 2011.

The WorldSkills Competition has played a major role in the development of the country's vocational education, which integrates standards of the competition into education programs and various domestic skill competitions.

Already 86 training centers that use pedagogical methods generated from the competition have been set up around the country.

Many of the participants who competed in Shanghai also took part in the WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi on October 13. On the same day, Shanghai was announced to be the host of the WorldSkills Competition for 2021.

The Mercedes-Benz Arena, which has 18,000 seats, will open to the event and the Oriental Sports Center, which has hosted top-level world swimming and skating competitions, is a second ideal location for the competition.

Shanghai has hosted qualification competitions to select participants to represent China on the WorldSkills Competition every two years since 2012, together with a dozen cities in other parts of the country.

Last year, around 30,000 visitors in Shanghai watched the competition and took part in the interactive activities.

Shanghai was renowned for its assembly lines that produced high-quality sewing machines, TV sets, bicycles and watches in the 1980s. Now the city is gathering manufacturers of high-tech products under its own roof, such as cars, marine equipment and planes.

Shanghai is at the forefront of the country's industrialization story. China, the world's most populous country and second largest economy, is striving to upgrade its manufacturing sector and is very aware of the importance of preparing a more skilled workforce.

An estimated 800 million of the country's population are "economically active." Two years ago, the State Council published "Made in China 2025," a strategy document calling for more technologically driven, innovative and environmentally friendly industrial development.

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