Vocational schools urged to note employers' demands

Vocational schools are being urged to take more note of the demands of industries and employers if their students are to command higher salaries.

Just 2.5 percent of this year's secondary technical and vocational school graduates in Shanghai started work at a monthly salary of over 5,000 yuan (US$763).

The average monthly pay for this year's college graduates is 5,386 yuan, according to the city's human resources and social security bureau.

This year, 29,716 students graduated from 76 secondary technical and vocational schools in the city, according to Shanghai Education Commission.

More than 98 percent of them got jobs or went on to higher education, a slight increase from last year.

Of the total, 12,266 started work directly after graduation with their average starting salary at 3,105 yuan a month, compared to 3,061 yuan last year.

More than half the new employees are paid over 3,000 yuan a month, up 13.55 percentage points from last year, while 2.46 percent started on more than 5,000 yuan a month. 

Officials and educators pointed out that were all outstanding talent in high demand.

Guo Weilu, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission, said technical and vocational schools should adjust their educational content and specialty settings according to industrial and social development so as to meet the demand of industries and employers and improve the employability and salary of their students.

Chen Jinguo, headmaster at Shanghai Qunyi Vocational and Technical School, said: "If we only produce ordinary operators of simple work, how could we expect our graduates to earn a high salary?"

He said auto repair students at his school started work at between 2,000 and 3,000 yuan a month, but those learning auto metal plate painting could earn 4,000 to 5,000 a month as beginners, and over 10,000 after they got skilled.

Manufacturing and processing, finance and business, transport, information technology, and medicine and health were the top five major categories with the largest number of graduates, accounting for more than 70 percent of the total. Their employment rate was 98.65 percent, higher than the general average.

The sports and gym category reported the lowest employment rate, at 76.79 percent.

Zhao Ning, director of the education commission's vocational education division, said the city had been enhanced international cooperation and exchanges in vocational education, which brings more opportunities for students to go abroad for further study and work, while the Belt and Road Initiative also offered more job opportunities overseas.

This year, 227 graduates, or 1.81 percent of the total, landed jobs overseas, a slight increase from last year.

As the city is undergoing industrial upgrading and transformation, more secondary vocational and technical school graduates are seeking higher education to improve their competence. Meanwhile, education departments have introduced programs that allow students to attend secondary schools and universities consecutively without taking extra admission tests.

This year, a total of 16,709 graduates entered higher education institutions. These accounted for more than 56 percent of the total and a 9 percentage points increase from last year.

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