In June, new incentives were launched by several government authorities to encourage companies to launch training and apprenticeship programs in China to upgrade the country’s workforce, deemed necessary to build advanced manufacturing capabilities. and high-tech innovation.
China has released new incentives to encourage companies to set up apprenticeship programs, as the country seeks to upgrade the skills of its workforce.
On June 8, 2021, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Finance and three other authorities jointly published the Guidelines on the comprehensive implementation of the new learning system of Chinese characteristics in enterprises and strengthening the cultivation of skilled talents (Guiding lines”).
The system will allow employers to claim an annual subsidy of up to 5,000 RMB (US $ 775) per apprentice to fund vocational training programs.
The apprenticeship system represents the latest effort by Chinese policymakers to encourage companies to work towards the ambition of moving the economy towards advanced manufacturing and technological innovation.
Who qualifies for an apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship program aims to give new hires and mid-career professionals on-the-job experience and professional training to prepare them for careers in skilled technical positions. In addition to training employees, the program encourages companies to improve their capacity for technological innovation and their competitiveness.
Newly recruited employees and current employees transferred from another role are eligible to participate in the apprenticeship program. To benefit from it, the company must have signed an employment contract with the employee for a period of at least one year, paying him at least on local minimum wage.
The guidelines state that mid-level workers, senior workers, technicians and senior technicians who meet the needs of the business are the primary targets of the apprenticeship program. As such, the program is primarily aimed at increasing the skills of experienced workers, rather than students newly graduating from education programs.
Apprenticeships generally last one to two years, but companies can extend them for up to three years in total under special circumstances.
What educational content is eligible?
The apprenticeship program targets companies that meet China’s needs to modernize its industrial and manufacturing sectors to become more technologically advanced, such as those enrolling in the Digital China and Internet + strategies.
Specifically, apprenticeship training should meet national standards of professional skills and specific industry standards of China. In particular, the guidelines focus on digital skills, green skills, production skills, quality control, innovation, safety, hygiene and others.
To be qualified in apprenticeship, the company must offer training with credit systems. Small businesses that lack the resources to set up programs themselves can contact local branches of the Federation of Industry and Commerce to organize training courses shared with other businesses.
Before starting the apprenticeship, companies must sign a training agreement with the employee that specifies the objectives, content and duration of the training, as well as how they will conduct the evaluations. If there are several apprentices for similar functions, both parties can sign a collective training agreement.
Companies are also encouraged to hire an external vocational training provider to carry out the training on their behalf.
How can companies claim training grants?
Companies can apply for annual training grants of up to 5,000 RMB (US $ 775) per apprentice, with the total amount corresponding to the length of the training period.
To be eligible, companies must provide the Department of Human Resources and Social Security with documents such as training plans, employment contracts, and other documents required by the local office. Once approved, the business will receive grant funds in advance.
Likewise, once the employee has completed the apprenticeship program, companies must submit an education certificate, training material and fee issued by the training provider to the office to confirm that the company has put implement the program.
While not mandatory, the guidelines also encourage companies to provide compensation to mentors within the company and to establish scholarships and other incentives to encourage employees to take up job training opportunities.
China needs skilled workers
China’s new apprenticeship program is part of a dynamic of technological modernization, as evidenced by programs such as Made in China 2025, as well as concerns about labor shortages. Based on these priorities, the Chinese government has set a goal of training more than 50 million people through government grants by the end of the year.
China’s manufacturing sector has faced a labor shortage for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed even more manufacturing workers into service sector jobs. According to a survey of 90,000 companies released by China’s Bureau of Statistics in April, 44% of industrial companies cited hiring workers as their biggest obstacle.
In January, the Department of Human Resources and Social Security released a list of the 100 jobs facing the worst labor shortages, 36 of which were related to manufacturing. According to the ministry, these 100 professions totaled 1.418 million open positions in the fourth quarter of 2020.
China’s vocational training goals offer increasing opportunities for vocational education providers. On June 7, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress began deliberating on revisions to the Law on Vocational Education, including the possibility of policymakers giving vocational education equal importance to general education. , and allow vocational schools to have greater operational autonomy.
In light of these trends, the government is likely to offer vocational training providers new opportunities and incentives in the near future, while companies will continue to be encouraged to use their services.
China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors in China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the company for assistance in China at [email protected]
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