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China to Train more Technicians to Support Growth

China will train another 3.5 million technicians and one million senior technicians during the next ten years as highly-skilled workers are urgently needed to drive growth, and boost employment.

The country will build 1,200 centers for the training of skilled technicians over the next ten years, of which 400 are to be built by 2015, said Wang Xiaochu, Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Security.

"It is imperative that China speeds up training technicians, as this is vital for China to improve the core competitiveness of its industries," Wang said at a national work conference held in Hefei city in east China's Anhui Province.

China plans to accelerate the construction of technician-training bases to meet the need for regional economic development, industrial development plans and emerging industries of strategic importance, according to Wang.

The training bases will be built with support from large-scale enterprises, major vocational schools, and training institutions.

Wang said the number of technicians and senior technicians was expected to reach 10 million by 2020, which is key for improving China's competitiveness.

Zhou Tianyong, a professor with the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said that doubling the amount of technicians and senior technicians in China was a clear signal that the country would strengthen vocational education.

Zhou said that training more technicians in the country would also ease the labor shortages facing some companies in the cities while equipping unemployed college graduates with more skills to find new jobs.

Government data showed that nearly one tenth of the 6.3 million college graduates failed to find jobs last year, while students from some secondary universities face even greater difficulties in finding employment.

In contrast, workers who have been through vocational training tend to find jobs more easily due to the shortage of senior technicians in China's manufacturing industry, which is estimated at 4 million.

Zhao Xiangping, an economic adviser with the Hunan provincial government, said that the job market today demands higher skills among workers.

"In the past, senior technicians were not in great need because China's industrial level was low; but now, even a home maid needs to know how to operate various kinds of home appliances," Zhao said.

Cai Jiming, the director of Tsinghua University's Political Economy Research Center, said that China's nine-year compulsory education should also expand to include vocational training for students in order to improve their working skills.

Zhou Tianyong said that the vocational training should cover not only the students but also migrant workers and people who already have jobs. 

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