BEIJING: The Chinese government is encouraging vocational school students to take internships in factories so as to ease the shortage of workers in manufacturing.
According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Education, vocational schools are urged to provide more internship opportunities for students in their last year of training.
They are encouraged to organize students to work as interns in factories that fit in their major, especially the students whose skills were in urgent need, the notice said.
The ministry also encouraged education departments in east China, where manufacturing was booming, to work with vocational schools in western regions.
Many factories in the country's more industrialized eastern part currently have difficultly recruiting workers as the demand for labor has increased and many migrant workers prefer to work in factories near their hometowns.
Meanwhile, vocational schools were facing problems helping graduates get jobs.
Last year, China issued new policies to improve vocational education, including granting living subsidies to students from needy families and providing internship opportunities for students in the last school year.
To ensure the safety of interns, the ministry required a three-party labor contract to be signed by schools, students and employers before the internship. The contract guarantees proper pay and contingency insurance.
It also stresses that schools should provide safety education and skill training for students before their internship.
Interns should not be assigned to high-risk posts or work at entertainment venues and the working hours should be restricted to eight hours per day, according to the notice.
In China, most vocational education lasts for three years after young people finish nine-years of compulsory education.
China has about 14,800 occupational schools with 19.87 million students.