China Focus: Chinese vocational workshops help with training overseas

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TIANJIN, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Luban Workshop, a Chinese vocational workshop program training talent overseas, represents a win-win model for international vocational education cooperation.

The program, named after Lu Ban, an ancient Chinese woodcraft master, attracted much attention at the World Vocational and Technical Education Development Conference in north China's port city of Tianjin. About 700 participants from over 120 countries and regions attended the event offline and online from Friday to Saturday.

A 3D printing machine for vocational training in South Africa's Luban workshop exhibition booth attracted many visitors.

"With the help of industry-vocational education integration, enterprises undergoing rapid transformation can more easily recruit workers specialized in new technology," said Duan Wenyan with Tianjin Vocational Institute, which co-founded the workshop in South Africa.

Vocational education is closely following the industrial demand, serving the promotion of new technologies and industrial upgrading, Duan said. "The expo provides the industry a platform for mutual exchange and learning," she said.

The Luban Workshop program aims to promote vocational education exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries and regions, committed to cultivating urgently needed technical talent.

So far, 20 such workshops have been built in 19 countries, including Thailand, Britain, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Portugal.

"Cooperation and vocational education provide answers to some of our challenges," said Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Ethiopia's minister of labor and skills.

"Ethiopia has a strong desire to expand the Luban Workshop so that it also covers our regional states," she added during the conference.

A Luban workshop was built in Thailand in 2016, which has helped Thai students learn subjects ranging from new energy cars to high-speed rail.

Thai student Arissara Jitnok studied mechatronics there and went on further study at a university in Tianjin. Jitnok plans to join a Chinese-funded enterprise after graduation.

"I would never have the chance to further my study in China and then find a good job when I go back to Thailand if I hadn't taken vocational education at the Luban workshop in Thailand," said Jitnok, 23.

Data shows more than 3,200 students have taken vocational education in Luban workshops worldwide. Over 11,000 people have been trained for both China-funded and local enterprises in the partner countries.

Teachers in the partner countries also have opportunities to polish their education skills in China.

"I have gained a lot from China's Luban workshop and Chinese teachers," said Mohamed Ahmed Ali Baioumy Mohamed, a teacher at the Advanced Technical School for Maintenance Technology in Egypt's Cairo.

"At the workshop, I learned how to use modern machines and learned how to use the advanced numerically controlled machine tools. I'll pass what I have learned in China to my colleagues and students," he said.

The Luban workshop in India trains talent in equipment manufacturing and new energy for Chinese-funded companies there, while the workshop in Britain has brought Chinese food and culture to British chefs.

"We not only teach China's wheaten food but also share the food culture and history," Zhang Yakun, a Chinese wheaten food teacher in the Luban workshop in Britain. "Many teachers and students were impressed by the skills required and profound culture of Chinese food." Enditem

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