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First nationwide skills competition nurtures talent

Cheng Si
Updated: Dec 15,2020 10:06    China Daily

China's first nationwide vocational skills competition has underscored the country's determination to nurture more skilled workers for the next phase of high-quality development.

The competition, which wrapped up on Dec 13 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, was the largest skills contest since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

It was also a testing field for the WorldSkills competition in Shanghai in 2022, with winners to join a training program for the international competition.

Thirty-six teams-and a total of 2,557 competitors-contested 86 events during the three-day competition. Guangdong topped the gold medal count with 32, followed by Jiangsu province with 12.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said 1,350 competitors won prizes, with teams from provincial-level regions in eastern China such as Jiangsu and Shanghai edging out those from western and central areas.

"The qualities of the competitors have a strong connection with their area's economy and skills education, but thankfully we've seen great improvement in their skills," Zhang Lixin, director of the ministry's department of vocational capacity building, told a news conference in Guangzhou on Dec 14.

"We are also pleased that the delegation from the Tibet autonomous region made a breakthrough, winning a bronze medal at the competition.

"The competition helped improve the workers' or vocational students' skills, which lays a solid foundation for nurturing a high-quality group of skilled talent for the nation."

Zhang said winning medals was not the only reward for competitors.
"The top five competitors for each event will be awarded 'national skills master' titles," he said.

"Also, the top 10 in individual events and top five in synchronized events will be invited to join the nation's training campaign preparing for the 46th WorldSkills competition scheduled to be held in Shanghai."

Skills education has long been an important focus for the government, with labor market demand for high-quality skilled workers rising in the past few years.

The State Council released a three-year plan in May last year, instructing governments at all levels to emphasize the enhancement of workers' skills. It plans to have more than 50 million people attend diversified skills training courses from 2019 to 2021 with a view to having high-quality skilled workers account for more than 30 percent of the work force by the end of 2021.

Ou Jinlin, a 22-year-old from Sichuan province who won a silver medal in the robot system integration event, said joining the competition made him more determined to become a highly skilled worker.

"The medal is a recognition of my efforts, which makes me more clear about my future work," he said. "We young people have great policy support from the government, so why not choose the path of being a skilled worker, especially as it's what I really love."