China has made improvements in running competitions to encourage young people to pick up skills or achieve a higher level of performance as a skilled worker, said a senior WorldSkills International official.
Speaking at a news conference for the China Skills Competition 2018 — the National Selection Competition for the 45th WorldSkills Competition, David Hoey, CEO of the nonprofit membership association, said that China well understands what is required to run a skills competition and is executing the process well.
"I attended your first competition many years ago, and I can see a major improvement in so many different aspects. Progress is in the right direction," he said. "I think China has been very quick to take on and implement innovations, new ideas and new ways to run the competition around the world here in China."
Hosted by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the China Skills Competition 2018, held in Shanghai last week, gathered about 900 contestants from 46 delegations across the country to compete in 34 events including automobile technology, carpentry and mechatronics.
It served as the preparation and rehearsal for the 45th WorldSkills Competition to be held in 2019 in Russia and the subsequent edition in Shanghai from Sept 22 to 27, 2021.
"We primarily look at the capabilities and capacity, and at this point in time we are very impressed with what China has," said Hoey about the country"s preparation for the 2021 event.
"One of the legacies we hope to leave behind from the competition in 2021 is that by working together in the next three years to deliver it, the team here will learn what it takes to run a major international skills competition," he added.
Hoey noted that the competition will help Chinese parents to understand that being a skilled worker has good career prospects for their children.
"China, like a lot of Asian countries, has a culture where parents want their kids to go to university. What we have to do is create a narrative depicting how skilled jobs are a good and better career option, and how it contributes to the community," he said.
China has a working population of 776 million, of which only 165 million are skilled, and a mere 47 million are "highly skilled", according to official figures.
Authorities have already introduced measures to address the issue, including encouraging enterprises to provide their workers with a more comprehensive training syllabus through tax incentives and financial subsidies.
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