Building world-class vocational universities to cultivate highly skilled talents: NPC Deputy

Beijing: China’s automobile industry is in a critical period of transformation, and the demand for highly skilled talents is increasing. The talent cultivation system also faces new and higher requirements, said Yang Yongxiu, a deputy to the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), and a senior technician for Changchun-based automaker FAW Group in Jilin.

In 2023, China’s automobile industry achieved a historic milestone, with production and sales figures hitting 30.161 million and 30.094 million units respectively, crossing the 30 million threshold for the first time. This data, released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on January 11, 2024, cements China’s status as the global leader in automobile production and consumption for the fifteenth year running.

However, highly skilled talents are still a rarity. According to a manufacturing talent development guide issued by various departments, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, it is projected that by 2025, there will be a shortfall of approximately 30 million skilled workers across ten critical manufacturing sectors, including the Energy-Saving and New Energy Automobile Industry. Thus, at this year’s two sessions, Yang offered his suggestions on building world-class vocational universities to accelerate the cultivation of highly skilled talent who can adapt to the development of the new era in response to the current situation of the gap in experienced technical and skilled talents in the automotive industry in Jilin.

Yang and his colleagues are driving the rapid development of domestically produced electric vehicles amid the transformation of China’s automotive industry. Since joining FAW in his early 20s, Yang has specialized in numerical control technology and mastered skills. In 2016, he became a trainer and has been responsible for teaching young workers.

He told the China Economic Net (CEN) that by combining vocational education and undergraduate education, more outstanding engineers and highly skilled personnel will be trained. “Vocational universities are the training base for highly skilled talents. We hope to turn a batch of top vocational schools into vocational universities, so as to quickly cultivate excellent highly skilled talents who can empower the future of China’s auto industry,” he said.