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China to promote lifelong professional skills training

Xu Wei
Updated: Apr 18,2018 9:12 PM

China will push forward a lifelong professional skills training system, as part of efforts to improve the competence of the workforce and boost high-quality development, a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang decided on April 18.

With the goal of promoting employment and entrepreneurship, a lifelong professional skills training system will be established and supported to provide equally accessible skills training to all workers in both urban and rural areas throughout the entire course of their career, according to a decision at the meeting.

The training system, which also is aimed at instilling craftsmanship and quality awareness, will help alleviate the structural shortage of skilled talent, improve the total factor productivity and move the economy toward the medium-high end of the global value chain.

“Lifelong professional skills training is a pressing task in the process of achieving economic transformation and upgrading, and high-quality development,” Premier Li said.

“While the demographic dividend was well leveraged during the earlier stages of development, it is a more skilled and high-quality workforce that is crucial to high-quality development going forward.”

Central government departments have carried out an array of action plans since November 2012, offering government-subsidized training sessions to 114 million workers, which contributed significantly to employment and entrepreneurship.

According to the decision at the meeting, in order to achieve industrial upgrading, enterprises will be encouraged to play a principal role in sharpening the skills of workers. Enterprises will also be encouraged to conduct professional skill training on a large scale through measures such as government-subsidized training, training sessions organized by enterprises themselves and commercial courses.

A new type of apprentice system will be pushed forward to provide skills training for newly recruited and re-employed workers. The development of highly skilled talent will be prioritized, with the training of senior technicians set to be reinforced. The ministries of finance and human resources and social security are asked to conduct research to support enterprises in conducting skills training and speeding up measures to develop people with high professional qualifications.

More training sessions on employment and entrepreneurship will be made available to college graduates and young migrant workers. Professional skills training will be better incorporated into certificate programs.

“We must give full play to the role of enterprises as the main players in lifelong professional skills training, and lose no time in addressing the mismatch between employment pressures and scarcity of workers, especially highly skilled workers,” the Premier said.

According to the decision, talent evaluation and skill assessment mechanisms will be refined, with professional capabilities as the criteria. Income distribution methods for technical workers will be formulated with a focus on their skills and innovation achievements to encourage skill-based wealth creation and income increases. An investment mechanism with contributions from government, businesses and society will be established for more financial support for professional skills training.

Privately run professional skills training will be boosted, and government-subsidized programs will be open to eligible vocational colleges and training institutions. Enterprises will also be encouraged to set up professional training institutions.

Training quality supervision will be reinforced, and catalog list-based management will be introduced for public service programs in professional skills training. And the performance evaluation system will be improved.

“Professional skills training must focus on the weaknesses in China’s industry upgrading. Costs must be reduced, and institutional incentives put in place for skills training by enterprises themselves to produce highly skilled professionals,” Premier Li said.

“Skilled talent should be duly remunerated and well-esteemed by the general public.”