Enterprises should play their role as the main players in promoting the lifelong vocational skills training system, said Premier Li Keqiang at the State Council executive meeting on April 18, which decided to carry out seven policy measures to promote the system.
Premier Li cited as an example the “dual vocational education system”, a kind of talent cultivation method that combines courses at a vocational school and on-the-job training at a company, in some developed countries, saying the system has provided talent support to these countries’ manufacturing development.
“Enterprises in China once ran vocational schools. However, due to the lack of a clear system support, the approach increased the burden on enterprises themselves. Now we should let the market play a bigger role in the process, and encourage the participation of more social forces,” he said.
According to the decision at the meeting, in order to achieve industrial upgrading, enterprises will be encouraged to conduct professional skills training on a large scale through measures such as government-subsidized training, training sessions organized by enterprises themselves and commercial courses.
Private vocational skills training should be developed, and enterprises are encouraged to set up training institutions.
With the goal of promoting employment and entrepreneurship, a lifelong professional skills training system will be established and supported to provide equally accessible skills training to all workers in both urban and rural areas throughout the entire course of their career, said the Premier.
The training system, which also is aimed at instilling craftsmanship and quality awareness, will help alleviate the structural shortage of skilled talent, improve the total factor productivity and move the economy toward the medium-high end of the global value chain, he said at the meeting.
He stressed the priority of cultivating highly skilled talent, as he recalled a senior technician with high skills he met while visiting an enterprise in a developed country about 10 years ago. He said the worker could make products that a machine was incapable of completing, and was told that the worker’s annual salary was twice that of the company’s executive.
“To upgrade China’s economy, the professional skills of workforce should be improved to high-end, and skilled talent should be duly remunerated and well-regarded by the general public through improving the mechanism and creating a favorable ecosystem,” said the Premier.
Talent evaluation and skills assessment mechanisms will be refined, with professional capabilities as the criteria. Income distribution methods for technical workers will be formulated with a focus on their skills and innovation achievements to encourage skill-based wealth creation and income increases, according to the meeting.
Lifelong professional skills training is a pressing task in the process of achieving economic transformation and upgrading, and high-quality development. Shortage of highly skilled talent has been the bottleneck in high-quality development, so the government should make efforts to increase the supply to meet the demands of enterprises, said the Premier.
He also stressed that related departments should effectively implement the policies, and promote a lifelong professional skills training system to turn China’s “demographic dividend” into “talent dividend”.