SHANGHAI: Zhang Ke, a 19-year-old from the quake-hit town of Dujiangyan in Sichuan province, is looking forward to a bright future here.
"I will work hard, learn new skills and later return home to help build a new Dujiangyan," he said.
"A job means hope for the future."
Zhang is one of 99 people from Dujiangyan who arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday, drawn by an offer from the city government to help them find jobs and restart their lives.
Ding Feng, vice-director of the Shanghai municipal labor and social security bureau's employment promotion center, said yesterday: "Many of them have lost their homes and families, but they are not giving up."
Under the new scheme, Shanghai will advertise 4,000 jobs in Dujiangyan by the end of September, hire 1,000 people and help 25,000 others to find work in their hometown, Ding said.
Authorities in the city will pay the 1,000 workers' travel expenses, provide them with free accommodation and meals, and pay their insurance contributions, he said.
On July 16, 20 companies from Shanghai took part in a jobs fair in Dujiangyan, offering more than 1,000 openings. A total of 2,100 people attended the fair and 239 have since been offered work.
The 99 who arrived on Tuesday were welcomed at Shanghai railway station by their employers.
"The people from Dujiangyan have an average age of 25, and they will work as chefs, waiters, secretaries and technicians," Ding said.
They will earn at least 1,500 yuan ($220) a month, he said.
Before starting work, however, they will all undergo a training program, paid for by the Shanghai government, during which they will be paid an allowance, he said.
Zhang, who studied digital controls at a vocational school in Dujiangyan, said the earthquake left him with no chance of finding a job at home. But after attending the jobs fair, he was offered a position at a battery factory in the Fengxian district of Shanghai.
"I'll get 1,700 yuan a month after I've completed my probationary period," he said.
"My parents are very happy and have encouraged me to work hard. I will cherish this job."