Young migrants seek skills: Poll

By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-03 06:45

Young migrant workers are keen to receive skills training so they can land better jobs than their parents, recent studies have found.

Born in the 1980s, the so-called "second-generation migrant workers" come from the countryside but have little farming experience. They have better educational backgrounds than their parents but little family burden. Above all, they are young and ambitious.

The China Youth and Children Research Center found that more than 97 percent of second-generation migrant workers said they hoped to continue learning. However, less than 80 percent said they had actually received training.

In April, the center polled more than 4,600 migrant workers from across the country, all of whom were born in the 80s.

Another survey, carried out earlier this year by the Zhejiang Academy of Labor and Social Security, involved more than 2,000 migrant workers in their 20s from across the province. It found that all of them wanted skills training.

Chen Shida, president of the academy, said: "Unlike their parents, these young people want to make a living with their brains rather than brawn.

"They adapt their behavior and way of thinking to the city and it is impossible for them to return to the country," he told China Daily.

Compared with most urban children, young migrants lack vocational skills and few of them get the chance to access higher education. Most start work after graduating from middle school at age of 18 or lower.

Unsatisfied with their status, many young migrant workers frequently change their jobs. But without learning new skills, they have little chance of improving their standard of living.

However, some employers and labor and social security departments have realized that the lack of qualified workers is limiting the development of local industries. Which is why some local governments have set up vocational training schools for migrant workers.

According to the Ministry of Education, at the end of last year there were more than 151,000 training schools around the country, which had provided training for more than 45 million people in 2006 alone.

Labor authorities in Hangzhou and Haiyan in Zhejiang Province introduced a policy last year to provide migrant workers with subsidies to help them complete their training. Under the plan, workers can choose from a range of subjects and as long as they finish the course and gain a certificate, local governments will pay half the tuition fee.

(China Daily 08/03/2007 page3)

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