China's flagship vocational training program, spearheaded by the Tianjin government, plans to open two new major courses later this year in cooperation with Uzbekistan to help meet the Central Asian nation's growing demand for highly skilled professionals.
The Luban Workshop will offer information technology and logistics management majors, according to the program's joint initiators — Tianjin Maritime College, Tashkent State Transport University and the Uzbek Chamber of Commerce for Chinese Entrepreneurs.
The information technology major is expected to begin later this year, while the logistics management major will be introduced next year, they said.
The three parties inked an agreement on Nov 20 in Tianjin to collaborate in promoting the development of the workshop in Uzbekistan.
Named after Lu Ban, an ancient Chinese woodcraft master, the Luban Workshop has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the Chinese government's efforts to foster international cooperation in vocational education.
In line with this collaboration, three teachers from the Uzbek university in Tashkent started their studies at the Tianjin college on Nov 16, and will end them on Dec 16.
The Tianjin college will send its teachers to continue training at the Uzbek university each year.
Bahodir Turayev, vice-rector of Tashkent State Transport University, expressed his confidence in the workshop's potential to "meet the growing demand for modernization in Uzbekistan with the support of the Chinese government".
"The achievements and accumulated experience of the Luban Workshop in developing skilled vocational personnel worldwide are outstanding," he said.
Wu Zongbao, president of Tianjin Maritime College, said: "The extensive research and investigations conducted by the college's teachers in Uzbekistan since July last year revealed a critical demand for personnel with expertise in information technology and logistics management. Taking this into account, the decision was made to establish these two majors in the Luban Workshop."
Many Chinese internet companies have established branches in Uzbekistan, and there is a strong appetite for talented local staff in the country.
Liu Yu, executive chairman of the Uzbek Chamber of Commerce for Chinese Entrepreneurs, said, "Students will get internship opportunities and will be invited to join Chinese-invested companies."
In the past two years, China has hastened its efforts to set up vocational training workshops in Central Asia.
The first Luban Workshop in Central Asia, launched last year in Tajikistan, has so far helped train over 300 talented personnel and is expected to see over 50 students graduate this year, according to Xinhua News Agency.
On Oct 19, during the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China announced the development of a Luban Workshop in Turkmenistan, it said.
Progress is also being made in establishing a Luban Workshop in Kazakhstan.
As of now, some 12,000 technical workers have received Luban Workshop qualifications.