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More job training urged for graduates

Updated: 2013-05-30 04:19
By JIN ZHU ( China Daily)

Education and recruitment experts are calling on China to boost entrepreneurship training on college campuses to help students get ahead in the tough job market.

Without any guidance from older entrepreneurs, only a few students succeed in starting a business as soon as they graduate, said Du Kui, executive president of Youth Business China, a nonprofit program that aims to promote entrepreneurship among young people.

He estimates the success rate is about 1 percent, based on his eight years of voluntary service as a mentor for the program.

A survey by MyCOS Research Institute, a Beijing higher education consultancy, found about 2 percent of China's graduates in 2012 started businesses, up from 1 percent in 2008.

The rise was partly driven by higher income expectations and the competitive job market, the report found.

The MyCOS study also found that about 70 percent of graduate ventures fail within three years.

"We don't encourage college students to start a business in the first year after they graduate, because there are too many painful examples," Du said. "Compared with the United States and Europe, most young people in China have limited internship experience and basically have no idea of running a company or a workforce."

Du's organization is a member of the UK-based Youth Business International Network, which operates in 38 countries and regions, helping young people who want to start a business but who lack the means.

Established in 2003, Youth Business China works with the same aim, providing funds to would-be entrepreneurs.

The program offers 30,000 to 50,000 yuan (about $4,890 to $8,150) as seed money to people aged 18 to 35 with a viable business plan and a passion for entrepreneurship. By the end of last year, 97 percent of the 800 or so businesses launched by young people with help from the YBC program had operated for more than three years.

Zhang Huiling, YBC's executive director, said: "The program regards operating a company for three years as a sign of success and will ask for the seed money to be paid back within that period. This money will later support other people.

"College graduates are a small group among successful business operators," she said. "But compared with other young people, their success rate is high when YBC approves their business ideas and offers help."

Cai Xing, 27, received help from YBC to develop his business in 2010 as soon as he graduated from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

"I applied for the money in 2008 when I was a student and ran a small studio for short films and videos as well as an e-zine (a newsletter that is delivered via e-mail) with my schoolmates," he said. "YBC refused at that time, saying I was too young to run a business."

However, Cai said that since then he has received plenty of help from mentors with the program, which has been crucial to his success. His short film company now employs 20 people.

"I can't say exactly when I decided to start my own business. It just happened," he said. "Young people should realize it is a different lifestyle — full of hardship and risk — before they start a businesses. That is the reason I keep going."

A record 6.99 million students will graduate from college in China this year, a 2.8 percent year-on-year increase.

Meanwhile, the average employment rate from October to April for graduates with bachelor's degrees stood at 35 percent, down 12 percentage points compared with the same period 12 months ago, according to a poll of 50,000 graduates by MyCOS and Internet company Tencent.

Guo Jiao, executive director of the MyCOS Research Institute, said, "The number of new college graduates will exceed 7 million next year, while many employers have frozen recruitment until the economic downturn is over."

Zhao Xinying contributed to this story.