In China, vocational education has not been as attractive as a university education. It's led to a shortage of skilled professionals in the country, especially in the manufacturing industries. But vocational schools and businesses are working together to overcome this challenge. CGTN's Lin Nan has the story.
18-year-old Sheng Fubin is studying new energy vehicle technology at Shanghai Communications Polytechnic. His class is the only cooperative project between Tesla and a higher vocational college in Shanghai. Sheng will spend one year on campus, followed by a one-year work placement with the company.
SHENG FUBIN Student, Shanghai Communications Polytechnic "It is the era of electric cars, and my profession will have a good future. I hope I can work for Tesla and become a technician who can develop interior parts for cars one day."
The school set up its new energy vehicle teaching program in 2012. Since then, it has worked closely with industry leaders, including Tesla and NIO.
LIN NAN Shanghai "As China cultivates its new energy vehicle industry, the demand for manufacturing workers and technicians is also growing."
Students here learn basic knowledge in their first year. In the second or third year, they are trained according to their specific needs, and given the opportunity to work with various companies in a hands-on environment. Last year, some 20 graduates from the Tesla program have landed jobs at the Tesla Gigafactory or service centers.
XU HUI President, Shanghai Communications Polytechnic "Companies have welcomed this practice very much. Our students can get started according to the requirements of their positions once they are recruited, which shortens the process of training for the companies. Our graduates can usually land jobs matching their majors."
In October, Chinese authorities issued a set of guidelines on promoting high-quality vocational education, to meet surging demand for such professionals to help with the upgrading of the nation's industrial structure. Vocational schools are being encouraged to step up cooperation with enterprises.
XU GUOQING Director, Institute of Vocational & Adult Education East China Normal University "The government can provide enterprises with more preferential policies on taxation, financing and land to encourage them to participate more in the training process of vocational education. At the same time, companies will be more motivated if they can see the benefits of their involvement and cultivate talents who meet their needs."
Experts say developing a more tiered vocational education system that offers higher levels of degrees and ensures recognition from society is also vital to attract more students to vocational institutions. Lin Nan, CGTN, Shanghai.