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Tianjin champions vocational training

By YANG CHENG in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-16 09:37
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Students discuss technical skills at a Luban Workshop lab in Ayutthaya Technical College in Thailand, the first Luban Workshop established globally. [Photo/Xinhua]

Luban Workshops overseas groom young workers for digitalized world

Wisit Saenklue, 27, a Thai technology supervisor at Shandong Linglong Tire Co Ltd's Thailand manufacturing center, recently sent a congratulatory video to Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technological College to express his gratitude to the Luban Workshop on the fifth anniversary of the workshop program's opening.

Luban Workshops are programs designed to offer high-end technical skills training that can help college students meet requirements of the emerging global market.

"I was fortunate to be an early member of the Luban Workshop, which was launched by Bohai College and Ayutthaya Technical College in Thailand in 2016-the first program of its kind in the world-and I even earned a scholarship," he said via the video.

"The knowledge benefited my career path at the Chinese tire producer in Thailand. Moreover, the Chinese language skills and the professional technical skills I learned from the program allowed me to work freely with my Chinese co-workers. Sometimes, I even work as an interpreter in top-level technological research," he said.

Saenklue is a prime example among the 8,000 Southeast Asian graduates from the Thailand-based program, which was named after Chinese craftsman and inventor Lu Ban of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). He is revered as the embodiment of professional and technical excellence.

To date, 18 workshops have been established in Asia, Africa and Europe by Tianjin's vocational colleges, providing training skills and certifications for more than 200,000 students in 47 majors, including transportation, mechanical engineering and new energy.

Apart from Tianjin's colleges, other provinces, including Hubei and Shandong, have established workshops overseas.

Yang Yan, vice-director of the Luban Workshop Research and Development Center of Tianjin Academy of Educational Science, said, "Since the first workshop was set up in Thailand, Tianjin has established 18 such programs in 17 countries."

Among them, 11 workshops have been set up in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic, and "Tianjin colleges have tackled enormous challenges during the period," said Cao Xiaohong, vice-mayor of Tianjin.

"The moves honor the commitment made by President Xi Jinping at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to establish Luban Workshops in Africa," Cao said.

Among the 47 majors offered by Tianjin vocational colleges, 10 have been recognized as part of the national diplomatic education system in Thailand and Djibouti, and others have become part of local curricula in different countries.

In the United Kingdom, the Tianjin Luban Workshop certificate has been listed in the UK National Vocational Qualification System. Students holding such certificates are qualified to work in the country and the European Union.

"In addition, the programs cover various educational levels, ranging from secondary vocational schools, higher educational vocational colleges, undergraduates and graduates," Yang said.

In the near future, Tianjin is scheduled to expand the programs to Switzerland, Russia, Ghana, Bulgaria and Morocco, Yang added.

Other provinces also announced plans to boost the workshops' presence.

The Luban Workshop has created job opportunities in countries where Chinese companies have increased their investments in recent years.

The content of the curricula ideally fits local economic development strategies, domestic and international professors and entrepreneurs.

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