Vocational program builds talent base

Updated: May 30, 2023 Xinhua Print
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Contestants display their technical skills in Tianjin on Friday during the World Vocational and Technical Education Development Conference. [Photo/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

The Luban Workshop, a Chinese vocational workshop program training talent overseas, represents a win-win model for international vocational education cooperation.

The program, named after Lu Ban, an ancient Chinese woodcraft master, attracted much attention at the World Vocational and Technical Education Development Conference in North China's port city of Tianjin. On Friday and Saturday, about 700 participants from over 120 countries and regions attended the event online and in person.

A 3D printing machine for vocational training in South Africa's Luban Workshop exhibition booth attracted many visitors.

"With the help of industry-vocational education integration, enterprises undergoing rapid transformation can more easily recruit workers specialized in new technology," said Duan Wenyan with Tianjin Vocational Institute, which co-founded the workshop in South Africa.

Vocational education is closely following the industrial demand, serving the promotion of new technologies and industrial upgrades, Duan said. "The expo provides the industry a platform for mutual exchange and learning," she said.

The Luban Workshop program aims to promote vocational education exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries and regions that are committed to cultivating urgently needed technical talent.

So far, 20 such workshops have been built in 19 countries, including Thailand, Britain, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cambodia and Portugal.

"Cooperation and vocational education provide answers to some of our challenges," said Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Ethiopia's minister of labor and skills.

"Ethiopia has a strong desire to expand the Luban Workshop so that it also covers our regional states," she added during the conference.

A Luban workshop was built in Thailand in 2016, which has helped Thai students learn subjects ranging from new energy cars to high-speed rail.

Thai student Arissara Jitnok studied mechatronics there and went on to study further at a university in Tianjin. Jitnok plans to join a China-funded enterprise after graduation.

"I would never have got the chance to further my study in China and then be able to find a good job when I return home if I hadn't taken vocational education at the Luban Workshop in Thailand," said Jitnok, 23.

Data shows that more than 3,200 students have taken vocational education in Luban workshops worldwide. Over 11,000 people have been trained for both China-funded and local enterprises in the partner countries.

Teachers in the partner countries also have opportunities to polish their educational skills in China.

"I have gained a lot from China's Luban Workshop and Chinese teachers," said Mohamed Ahmed Ali Baioumy Mohamed, a teacher at the Advanced Technical School for Maintenance Technology in Cairo.

"At the workshop, I learned how to use modern machines and how to use the advanced numerically controlled machine tools. I'll pass on what I have learned in China to my colleagues and students," he said.

The Luban Workshop in India trains people in equipment manufacturing and new energy for China-funded companies there, while the workshop in Britain has brought Chinese food and culture to British chefs.

"We not only teach Chinese food preparation, but also share the food culture and history," says Zhang Yakun, a Chinese food teacher in the Luban Workshop in Britain. "Many teachers and students were impressed by the skills required and the profound culture of Chinese food."

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