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Migrants receive training for city work
By Xiao Tang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-02 01:18

The government will soon launch a national vocational training programme to targeting 10 million rural migrant laborers throughout the country, helping them improve their job skills and increase their incomes.

Six ministries -- agriculture, finance, labor and social security, education, science and technology, and construction -- jointly released a circular on Wednesday that urges local governments to launch the training programme for local rural migrant labourers.

The training project is considered a major measure for the six ministries to implement a plan made public last September.

It called for the governments to offer vocational guidance to 10 million rural labourers who plan to move to non-agricultural industries or migrate to cities between 2003 and 2005.

Half of those labourers will receive vocational training and further job training. It will also be provided to about 50 million migrant rural workers who have already left rural areas, according to the plan.

Currently, the six ministries have set up a leadership group and office for the programme at the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministries have also developed regulations for the implementation of the programme.

It will be launched in some major grain-producing regions, concentrating on labor-transferring provinces and some needy areas, the joint document states. The central government will arrange for special capital funding for those areas supporting the programme.

According to the regulations, the labourers will receive short-term training, ranging from 15 days to 90 days. It will involve housekeeping, catering and restaurant service, construction and manufacturing.

Selected agencies are required to offer training needed in the market so as to ensure trainees find jobs in cities.

The training tuition will be jointly paid by the government and the trainees.

Only a very small part of China's 480 million rural work force has been equipped with some occupational skills.

Zigong, a city of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, as an example, has a population of 87 million, two-thirds of whom are farmers. Due to limited local agricultural resources, over 6 million of Zigong farmers have left to work in other cities. In the past several years, they have sent back an average of 2.6 billion yuan (US$314 million) each year.

Last year, 73 per cent of the increase in net income of Zigong farmers came from their work in outside cities.

The Zigong government has made it a top priority on its work agenda to provide necessary occupational training. But along with occupational skills, which is mainly focused on household and construction skills, it offers legal knowledge for labourers who may need legal weapons to protect themselves in the future.

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