LUPA (Leadership of Open Source University Promotion Alliance), a Chinese open source software community, plans to initiate a training project for the country's computer and software graduates as low-cost open source software development is gaining popularity in the current financial crisis.
The project, which is scheduled to start next February, will provide 100,000 job opportunities for computer and software graduates nationwide, said Zhang Jianhua, chairman of LUPA.
Under the program, college graduates will receive training on open source technologies for 3 to 6 months, which will cost less than 100 yuan ($14.60). If they pass the government-organized examinations, they will get a transitional position in enterprises in development zones where they will receive further training under the guidance of skilled employees.
"Graduates will get salaries which are relatively lower than official employees. The money will come from the government, social funds and enterprises, but details are still under discussion," Zhang said.
After the transitional stage, graduates can choose to stay or find new jobs elsewhere or even to start their own business.
The graduates will mainly come from the 100 member universities and colleges of LUPA such as Tsinghua University and Peking University.
Currently, more than 30 State-level hi-tech development zones where software firms are clustered, have participated in the project and the figure is expected to reach 54 next February.
According to the 2009 blue book of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one million college graduates are likely to fail to find jobs by the end of 2008. Besides, about 5.92 million new graduates will enter the job-hunting market in 2009.
"The financial crisis is exerting great pressure on college graduates who are looking for jobs," said Zhang. "However, opportunities are emerging for computer and software major graduates because open source software is becoming more popular for their low cost, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises."
According to Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, open source software has been applied in 85 percent of enterprises worldwide.
In the next 12 months, it will grow to cover all enterprises and by around 2012, open source technology will be adopted in 80 percent of commercial software.
"The project is especially well-received in vocational colleges," said Zhang. More than 300,000 graduates have registered for the project so far, he said.