Chen Huizhi / SHINE
Four hundred migrant workers in Shanghai will get free part-time education for vocational diplomas thanks to a Shanghai Charity Foundation program, sponsored by banking giant HSBC.
Three hundred of them will study for the next year and a half for a middle vocational school diploma and the rest will study for a vocational college diploma.
HSBC, a long-time partner with the charity organization on various financial education programs, committed 3.28 million yuan (US$474,000) to the program.
The students on the program, aged from 18 to 30, will learn about e-business and acquire emerging skills that are in high demand, such as drone flying and Internet safety management.
“Young people nowadays are less interested in learning traditional skills, and through this program we hope to help them learn skills of the future,” said Xie Chaolong, head of a local vocational school called Aogen which is one of two schools taking part in the program, on Sunday.
One in two migrant workers in Shanghai has completed the mandatory nine years of schooling or less, and about 12 percent have a senior middle school diploma, but vocational school and college diplomas have increasingly become a requirement for job seekers, according to the Shanghai Charity Education and Training Center.
Qi Haili, a migrant worker who sells wine in Hangtou Town in the Pudong New Area, didn’t pursue further studies after finishing nine years of compulsory education like many of her peers.
“Due to poverty, we had to find a job after basic education, but low income will remain our fate if we don’t equip ourselves with more knowledge,” she acknowledged, adding that the program is also attractive because it is available for free.
Li Huafeng, another migrant who works at the front desk of a local real estate company, also has only a junior middle school diploma.
“I love my job and hope to work in this trade longer, but I’m fully aware that my knowledge is far too little for my ambition,” she said. “I hope to get a vocational school diploma first and then go for a higher diploma.”
It’s estimated that Shanghai currently has 9 million migrant workers.