Senior care training program launched for students

Yang Meiping
A program in which about 200 students – half of them majoring in social work – from 18 local universities will receive training on elderly care has been launched.
Yang Meiping

A program was launched in Shanghai on Monday in which about 200 students from 18 local universities will receive training on elderly care as the city looks to further improve services for its senior residents.

About half of the students are majoring in social work, according to Shanghai Open University, organizer of the program, which is the first of its kind in the city.

The trainees will receive 40 hours of theoretical and practical training according to the requirements on senior care social workers and pass unified assessment to get related certificates.

Their performance will be recorded in their lifelong educational credit bank. In total, people need to accumulate 120 hours of training to get the qualification to take a job in the senior care industry.

"Though I have taken classes on social work in my university, it's the first time I will learn about how to take care of the older generation," said Zhang Yicheng, a third-year social work major at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, who joined the training program.

"Not all social worker students end up taking jobs related to their major after graduation and the rate of graduates who work in the senior care sector is much lower," Lou Junjiang, Party secretary of Shanghai Open University, noted at the program launch ceremony.

"But with the senior care industry booming, youngsters can now find jobs with relatively competitive pay and career development prospects. We hope this program will help young students to know more about senior care services and the industry, and lure them to join the sector in the future."

According to a survey by the city's senior work office, the Shanghai Health Commission and the local statistics bureau, there were more than 5.4 million people aged 60 or above in Shanghai by the end of 2021, or 36.3 percent of its total population, creating high demand for senior care services.

In its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for senior care sector, Shanghai aims to ensure each 1,000 senior residents will share at least one social worker by 2025, which means the city needs about 6,000 social workers dedicated to caring for the elderly. But currently, their number is less than half.

"There is a lack of understanding, or even some misunderstanding, about senior care among young people," said Lou. "Few university graduates would take it as their career. We need to do more to develop a young, professional senior care team."

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