The Chinese government has earmarked 2 billion yuan (US$250 million) of state budget for a training program for migrant peasants working in cities, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
The ministry's program, which aims to train migrant workers for city jobs, will use funding support from local governments to improve the skills of 8 million migrant workers over the next five years.
People's Daily yesterday reported that the training allowances would average about 500 yuan (US$62.5) per worker.
Scores of Chinese farmers have been moving into cities since the late 1980s in search of work. There are now about 140 million migrant workers in China. However, according to ministry statistics, most of them are only able to do simple manual work in sectors such as construction or catering and at far lower salaries than urban residents.
The government-backed courses aim to improve salaries and job security for migrant workers. The monthly salary of a skilled worker is about 200 yuan (US$25) more than an unskilled worker's.
Shenzhen municipal government, in south China's Guangdong Province, said that 90 percent of its 5 million migrant workers who have enrolled in its training program will obtain skilled work qualification certificates, and 80 percent of them are expected to get at least one-year job contracts.
Song Fengjing, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security, said in addition to work skills, work ethics, safety, fire protection and legal knowledge will be covered in the training.
Song said that 66 percent of the 3.57 million migrants in the capital are workers. The training courses will help them find jobs in the service sector, which is expected to have a raft of job opportunities in the run-up to and during the 2008 Olympics.
(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2006)