Competition on to find China's most skilled
Some of China’s best auto painters, furniture makers, bakers and hair stylists have descended on Shanghai for the China Skills Competition 2018. The competition is meant to find the country’s best and brightest in a number of vocational and technical professions, with winners going on to represent China at the 45th WorldSkills Competition (WSC) next year in Kazan, Russia.
All together, about 900 young people are competing in 34 different skill categories.
Liao Jinzhong, an experienced baker at Angel Yeast, a yeast producer based in Hubei Province, is a returning jury member for the bakery competition.
China started competing in the bakery category only at last year’s edition of the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi, where its baking participant won a gold medal.
“China has great potential to win medals at the competition if we invest enough expertise and train hard,” Liao said.
Over 30 participants are competing in Shanghai this year, up from 10 in the previous national competition.
Liao, who was also responsible for training bakery category contestants from Hubei, said training in the final month before the contest was particularly intense.
“For such a world competition, participants have to be physically and mentally prepared and have good English skills to present their products,” he explained.
During this year’s competition, officials from several localities have announced plans to step up preparations for next year’s WSC in Russia.
Zhu Congming, vice director of Jiangsu Province’s Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, said the government intends to recruit top WSC trainers and industry experts from all over the world to help its participants.
“We will also establish institutes to study the competition, improve skill and vocational education, and provide WSC programs to students at vocational schools,” he said.
In southwest China’s Chongqing city, the government hopes to enter the city’s famed hot pot and spicy noodles in the WorldSkills competitions.
Xie Xin, vice director of the city’s Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, said it will host a national hot pot and spicy noodle competition in September.
Simon Bartley, president of the WorldSkills International (WSI), said he has been impressed with the level of skills seen in Shanghai; as well as the enthusiasm of local teachers, experts, young people and the general public.
“We’re a movement that seeks to improve the opportunities of youth, and I see in Shanghai the youth who wish to grasp these opportunities with both hands and move forward in their lives and careers,” he said.
In terms of vocational education in China, Bartley said he has seen more engagement with local industries in recent years.
“I believe it’s absolutely critical that the vocational colleges in China respond to the requirements of the number, the skill level and the availability geographically of labor in the future,” he said.
He encourages Chinese vocational colleges to bring in more foreign professionals to give master classes and talk to local teachers about the latest techniques and methods.
David Hoey, chief executive officer of WSI, said the organization is very impressed with the capabilities and capacities of Shanghai, which will hold the WSC in 2021, and it’s talking with local stakeholders about the significance of the competition.
Hoey attended the first national competition in China a few years ago, and said he sees a major improvement in many different aspects of the competition.
“China has been very quick to take up and implement innovations, new ideas and ways in which we run skill competitions around the world,” he said.
“One of the legacies we hope to leave from the competition in 2021 is to bring together education, government and industry so that skill competitions will be able to held in all regions of the country to increase the scope of engagement,” he added.