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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 09:58, December 21, 2004
China strives to cultivate grey collar workers
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China has fulfilled its plan to train 100,000 more high-tech technicians this year to meet the increasing demand from the manufacturing industries. At the just concluded National Working Meeting on Labor and Social Security, an official stated that China will continue its efforts to cultivate grey collar workers in the years to follow.

Grey collar workers refer to technicians who master high technologies and can apply their skills in a work environment.

In some developed countries, between 30 and 40 percent of the technicians are trained in high-tech fields.

But in China, despite its huge labor force, technicians, especially high-tech technicians are quite rare.

Zhang Xiaojian is Vice Minister of Labor and Social Security. He says the shortage of high-tech technicians has become a major bottleneck to China's economic development.

"High-tech technicians can work in a variety of industries and play a significant role wherever they are employed. But they are still in short supply. High-tech technicians only account for 4 percent of the entire technician population in China."

He says many traditional industries are upgrading, creating large demand for technicians who master some specific technologies.

Therefore, China has in recent years strengthened its efforts to train high-tech technicians, a group of people between the white collar workers and the blue collars. The Chinese government has embraced the training of grey collar workers in the national strategy of "empowering the country with talents".

High-tech technician training schools have mushroomed, with over 300 such schools operating in China at the moment.

Besides, China has opened training courses for those technicians already on the job. In a project named "new technicians plan" started at the beginning of this year, China planed to train 500 thousand high-tech workers for industries like manufacturing and service between 2004 and 2006.

So far, China has achieved its goal of training 100 thousand technicians in 2004.

Moreover, some local governments and state-owned enterprises have adopted policies to promote the training of grey collar workers, including longer contract term and more bonuses for high-tech technicians.

Furthermore, nearly 300 competitions for high-tech technicians have been conducted this year, with more than 4 million people participating in the events.

The biannual Chinese Technician Skills competition is the most prominent one.

Liu Huosheng works for a plane-manufacturing company that won the competition held last weekend.

"Some people say workers have no future. I don't agree with them. I think we workers will have future and get well paid as long as we work hard, be innovative and dig into the technology."

Officials from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security also say China will strive to modify the policy on high-tech technician training and improve the labor structure of technicians to meet social demands.

Source: CRI News

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