Millions of Chinese high school students have just sat their university entrance exam. But a growing number are choosing technical training instead. The government recently announced plans to turn 600 universities into vocational schools - and change the college entrance exam. It¡¯s a bid to improve China¡¯s industrial sector and boost youth employment.
It takes years of study and practice, to build a car. And that¡¯s just what students here - at Beijing Polytechnic - are learning to do... Including complicated parts, like the gearbox. The college introduced German certification standards to Beijing. Teachers here are also trained in Germany, where technical colleges and apprenticeships are mainstream. Now, China is trying to do the same.
"We partnered with Mercedez Benz. In this way, one hundred percent of our graduates can get a job." Wang Ting, vice-principal of Auto Engineering School, Beijing Polytechnic, said.
This is good news for Li Yuan, who left school at age 16, after learning about the college. She never took China¡¯s gruelling university entrance exam, but believes her future is bright.
"When I graduate, I hope I can get a lot of chances to develop at Mercedez Benz. My parents know that brand, so they support my choice." Li Yuan, student of Auto Engineering School, Beijing Polytechnic, said.
It¡¯s also good news for China¡¯s slowing economy.
China is now looking to transform itself from a manufacturing giant, into a manufacturing leader, with high-tech capabilities. It currently faces a shortage of the highly-skilled workers needed to achieve this. But colleges like this - supported by the government - are changing that.
But there are far more jobs in China for skilled blue-collar workers, than white-collar... Experts say this industrial upgrade could take many years.
While millions fight for desk jobs, an increasing number of students like Li Yuan are instead rolling up their sleeves. And making "made in China" more competitive.