Notice by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of Issuing the Implementation Plan for the “Skills in China” Initiative

Below you can find the translated English version of the Notice by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of Issuing the Implementation Plan for the “Skills in China” Initiative. The notice was issued on June 30th, 2021.

Implementation Plan for the “Skills in China” Initiative
Skills serve as the foundation for building a strong country and the basis for starting a business. Skilled talents are major forces that support the manufacturing industries and creative inventions in China. For the purpose of fulfilling the spirit of the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping on skilled personnel, the MHRSS will work to organize and carry out the “Skills in China” Initiative during the 14th Five-year Plan. The Implementation Plan is hereby developed for this.

Table of Contents

Guiding ideology 

With Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guidance, efforts shall be made to comprehensively implement the underlying principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Plenary Sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, earnestly fulfill the spirit of the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping on skilled personnel, remain committed to the principles of managing personnel under the leadership of the Party, serving economic development, pursuing reform and innovation and meeting social demands, improve the system for training, using, assessing and rewarding skilled talents, strive to lay a solid foundation, build a better structure, expand the scale, raise the quality, establish the relevant mechanisms, and give more impetus to creating provinces and cities that attach importance to skills and technologies. There shall also be efforts to provide sound personnel support for developing the strategy of building a strong country with talents and driving economic development with innovation, developing China into a leading country in manufacturing, quality, skills, and technologies, taking comprehensive measures to build a modernized socialized country, and realizing the dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Goals and tasks

During the “14th Five-year Plan”, we will spare no effort in implementing the “Skills in China” Initiative, with focus placed on providing training for highly skilled personnel, artisans and craftsmen and promoting the cultivation of skilled personnel step by step, so as to build a large team of competent talents that can meet the country’s needs in high-quality economic and social development. During this period, more than 40 million technical persons will be added to the market, pushing up the proportion of skilled personnel in total employees to 30%; and highly skilled talents in eastern provinces of China will reach up to 35% of the total, while those in western and central provinces will increase by two to three percentage points from the existing base.

General principles

  1. Remaining firm to the leadership of the Party in personnel management: The leadership of the Party in talented personnel shall be strengthened, industry entities and enterprises shall assume primary responsibilities in cultivating personnel, and social sectors shall be encouraged to take an active part, to form a new pattern with the joint participation of enterprises, universities and private sectors.
  2. Continuing to serve economic development: A new development concept shall be implemented at a new stage. To meet the development demands, focus shall be placed on promoting structural reform on the supply of technical personnel, improving the model of personnel training, and moving faster to build a team of knowledge-based, highly skilled and innovation-oriented talents.
  3. Pursuing reform and innovation: The role of the market in the allocation of human resources shall be leveraged. Attention shall be paid to weaknesses and deficiencies that impede the cultivation of personnel. Efforts shall be made to improve relevant policies and measures and support reform and innovation in systems and mechanisms, to promote the building of a high-quality and competent team.
  4. Adhering to a demand-oriented approach: With a view to alleviating the structural problem related to employment, more efforts shall be made to improve the skills of our people, build a society that attaches importance to skills and technologies, highlight the objective of meeting social demands, cultivate more highly competent workers, and provide training for technical personnel and craftsmen that are directly needed in key sectors.

Major tasks

  1. Improving policies and systems for the “Skills in China” Initiative

1) Providing more effective policies and systems for the development of skilled personnel: Statistical analysis of skilled personnel shall be enhanced. Overall plans shall be made to support the objectives of personnel training, working tasks, policies, systems, and guarantee measures. Guiding opinions on further strengthening the building of a team of highly skilled personnel shall be studied. Relevant policies and measures shall be improved, and better policies and systems shall be established for the cultivation of technical personnel. Local authorities shall be encouraged to put various policies and measures into practice according to the actual conditions.

2) Improving the system for life-long training for vocational skills: A sound system for life-long training for vocational skills that covers urban and rural workers, spans the learning and working periods of workers, and meets the needs of employment and career growth as well as the requirements for high-quality development shall be established. An organization and implementation mechanism that mainly provides government-subsidized training, independent training in enterprises and market-oriented training, that supports public training bases for highly skilled personnel, technical colleges, vocational colleges, vocational training institutions and enterprises, and that acts in the forms of job skills training, skill improvement training and training for business startup and innovation shall be established. More efforts shall be made to provide digital skills training and improve the digital awareness of all people. The national system of basic vocational training courses shall be improved, and vocational training shall be properly managed based on standards and scientific facts. Constant efforts shall be made to implement the programs of building state-level training bases for highly skilled personnel and technical master studios. Local authorities shall be encouraged to establish training bases for highly skilled personnel, public training bases and technical master studios that cover a variety of professions and have distinctive local features.

3) Improving the system for the assessment of skilled personnel: Further steps shall be taken to reform the vocational qualification system. The professional skills ranking system shall be enhanced. The system for the assessment of skilled personnel that focuses on professional qualification evaluation, professional skills ranking identification and assessment of special professional skills shall be improved. A more scientific, socialized, and diversified system for the assessment of skilled personnel shall be established. The system for publishing information of new jobs shall be upgraded, and the system for dynamic adjustment of professional classification shall be optimized. The mechanism for developing professional standards shall be enhanced. A system of professional standards in which national professional skills standards, rules for the assessment of enterprises and rules for the assessment of special professional skills are interconnected shall be established. The supervision and management of the assessment of skilled personnel shall be strengthened so as to create an open, impartial and fair environment for the assessment of skilled personnel.

4) Building a system for vocational skill competitions: The system for vocational skill competitions in which worldwide skill competitions lead the way, China’s vocational skill competitions bear the brunt, national industrial vocational skill competitions and local vocational skill competitions and special tournaments at various levels play a dominant role, and competitions in enterprises and universities lay the foundation shall be enhanced. Vocational skill competitions shall be constantly made more scientific, standardized, and professional. Revolving around major strategies, key construction projects and crucial industries, various competition activities shall be carried out on a regular basis and managed in an all-round manner. The model of vocational skill competitions that pays attention to collectiveness, openness and the combination of competitions and exhibitions shall be broadly promoted. Private enterprises shall be encouraged and guided to support and participate in the organization of competitions. Provinces, cities, and counties shall be encouraged to organize comprehensive vocational skill competitions, accelerate the building of a team of professional personnel, and strengthen the construction of information systems for such competitions. One comprehensive training center, three China research centers, one China learning and education center and 400 intensive training bases in China for worldwide skill competitions shall be established. Support shall be provided for the establishment of a world skill museum, a center for building world skills and capacity, and a world skill and resource center. More focus shall be placed on theoretical research, learning and education, and commercial use of achievements in world skill competitions.

  1. Carrying out the “skill improvement” initiative

5) Continuing to implement the “skill improvement” initiative: High-quality vocational skill training shall be conducted on a large scale. New training methods shall be introduced, more training contents shall be provided, and the capability of workers in business startup and innovation shall be improved. To support economic and social development, guidelines for the demands for skilled personnel shall be prepared to meet the needs of skill-intensive industries, special training plans for key groups of people shall be implemented, “Internet + vocational skill training” shall be vigorously promoted, and technical training shall be extensively carried out for employees in new professions, new business forms and new models. The policies for training subsidies aimed at meeting technical demands and achieving positive skill assessment results shall be improved. Coupons for vocational training shall be encouraged. A real name training information management system and an electronic archive for workers’ vocational training shall be established. Interconnection between training information and employment and social security information as well as the sharing of the information shall be supported.

6) Sparing no effort in technical education: Technical colleges shall be encouraged to establish comprehensive personnel training centers that integrate various functions such as technical education, public training, training for technicians, competitions and intensified training, skill assessment, and vocational counsel. A total of 300 top-class technical colleges shall be established and 500 high-quality courses shall be selected and set up. The pilot program of establishing 100 technical education groups (alliances) shall be conducted. The size of enrollment in technical colleges shall be stabilized and expanded. The enrollment of technical colleges shall be included in the unified enrollment platform. An enrollment publicity platform shall be established for technical colleges in China.

7) Supporting skilled personnel in business startup and innovation: Training for skilled personnel in business startup and innovation shall be provided. For qualified highly skilled personnel, guaranteed loans and discount policies for business startup shall be implemented according to relevant provisions, and skilled personnel shall be supported in starting businesses in business incubation bases. Local authorities shall be encouraged to create new types of databases for highly skilled personnel. Support shall be provided for highly skilled personnel to participate in national basic research programs, key scientific and research programs, technical improvement in enterprises, and product research and development centers. Skilled personnel shall be encouraged to introduce new patents. Nationwide business startup and innovation competitions for technical college students shall be organized on a regular basis to cultivate their capability in business startup and innovation.

8) Supporting balanced development of technical education and vocational training in key areas for national rural revitalization: The projects of improving vocational skills in key areas for national rural revitalization to promote regional coordinated development. Support shall be provided for creating 100 technical colleges and vocational training institutions, 100 training bases for highly skilled personnel and 100 technical master studios, developing 100 rules for the assessment of special vocational skills, building 100 labor service brands, and cultivating a number of highly competent talents and rural craftsmen. Vocational skill competitions for rural revitalization shall be carried out on a regular basis, and key areas shall be guided and encouraged to organize vocational skill competitions with local characteristics. Coordination between western and eastern regions in improving vocational skills shall be strengthened to ensure that all workers willing to improve their skills can have an opportunity to attend vocational schools or participate in technical training. These key areas shall be supported in selecting and recognizing outstanding technical personnel.

  1. Implementing the “building strong enterprises with technical skills” initiative

9) Introducing a new apprenticeship system in enterprises with Chinese characteristics: A new apprenticeship system with Chinese characteristics that focuses on “cooperation between enterprises and colleges to provide training activities” shall be promoted in an all-round manner. The primary role of enterprises shall be leveraged. The joint training model in which the combination of training and assessment, cooperation between corporate training bases and college training bases, and tutorship from enterprises and colleges are supported shall be promoted. Through school-enterprise cooperation and alternation of learning and working, newly recruited and transferred employees shall be organized to participate in apprenticeship training, to enable the training of technical staff in enterprises and build a stronger team of workers.

10) Establishing a mechanism for integration of production and teaching as well as cooperation between colleges and enterprises: Enterprises and colleges shall be supported in strengthening cooperation in the industry chain, innovation chain and personnel chain, to jointly promote economic and social high-quality development in various regions. To meet the demands of enterprises and colleges, their respective resources shall be integrated, clusters that gather the resources of enterprises and colleges shall be established, and a win-win cooperation pattern in which enterprises and colleges work together to make joint progress, meet mutual demands, and integrate their resources shall be created. Support shall be provided for enterprises and colleges to provide joint training for technical staff in improving their skills in digital and environmental protection sectors.

11) Carrying out many on-duty drills and competitions: Enterprises shall be encouraged to take the building of a team of skilled personnel as a corporate development strategy. They shall also be guided to organize competitions in technical skills in the forms of training and contests based on their actual conditions in production, business operation and management with a view to increase core competitiveness of their staff, improve their vocational skills, recruit outstanding technical personnel, and promote their corporate culture.

12) Supporting enterprises in identifying the levels of technical skills: The role of vocational skill ranking identification in promoting the development of technical staff shall be leveraged, and enterprises shall be encouraged to identify the levels of technical skills. Support shall be provided for enterprises to determine the scope of professions (job types) under assessment, establish the levels of vocational skills and posts, develop assessment rules and standards, apply assessment methods to assess the performance of their skilled personnel according to the features of production and operation as well as actual needs. Enterprises shall be encouraged to extensively conduct assessment at the early stage of vocational skill ranking identification. They may, according to working conditions, staff’s daily operation and working performance, identify and determine their skill rankings by referring to certain rules. Enterprises shall be supported in combining vocational skill ranking identification with various training activities such as post contests, technical competitions, new types of apprenticeship, and vocational skill training. A system for vocational skill ranking that is coupled with salaries and career promotion shall be established. Limits on education background, working experience, age, personal identity, and percentage shall be removed. Frontline employees with excellent skills and outstanding performance may be selected and recognized as senior engineers, technicians, and senior technicians.

  1. Supporting the “incentives for technical skills” initiative

13) Providing more rewards to highly skilled personnel: A system for rewarding and recognizing technical staff that combines rewards from the state, enterprises and society shall be established. Activities such as big prizes for technical skills in China and nationwide selection of technical experts shall be carried out on a regular basis, to select outstanding technical personnel to receive special government subsidies. The percentage of highly skilled personnel in various types of rewards and prizes shall be increased. Standards for prizes and rewards shall be raised, and the coverage of rewards shall be expanded. Extensive activities such as exchange between highly skilled and leading personnel, holiday arrangement and festival allowance for them shall be arranged.

14) Improving the benefits for technical personnel: By implementing the Guidelines for the Allocation of Remuneration for Technical Personnel, enterprises shall be guided to establish a remuneration system based on the principle of incentivizing technical skills. Enterprises shall be encouraged to establish a system of determining salaries based on workers’ value, capability, performance, and contribution, and take a proper approach to assess their technical contributions. In the meantime, enterprises shall be encouraged to support the annual salary system, negotiated salary and special rewards to technical talents, particularly highly skilled and leading personnel. They shall also explore medium- and long-term incentives such as equity, bonus, and dividends according to relevant provisions. Special subsidies such as technical subsidies and apprenticeship subsidies shall be established according to the working style of technical staff to reflect the principle of incentivizing technical skills in a more effective manner. A mechanism for providing corporate annuity to highly skilled personnel shall be established to increase salaries and benefits for technical staff. The percentage of insured technical staff who will benefit from the policies of subsidies to improve their vocational skills shall be further increased.

15) Improving the social status of technical personnel: Effective measures shall be explored to recruit (employ) technical workers and technical college students as the staff of public institutions to expand the scope for career development of skilled personnel. Graduates from senior engineer classes and preparatory technician classes of technical colleges shall enjoy the same treatment as college or university graduates in terms of starting salaries, participation in recruitment of public institutions and government agencies, professional title assessment, and career promotion. Highly skilled personnel shall be included in the scope of urban residential households, and their spouses and children shall enjoy favorable services in employment, education and housing according to the relevant provisions.

16) Improving the mechanism for career development of technical personnel: More levels of vocational skills of technical personnel shall be established, and enterprises shall be encouraged and guided to increase the levels of vocational skills. Efforts shall be made to set up such positions as chief technicians and top-grade technicians. Channels for technical personnel to change their positions to managers or professional technicians shall be provided. A system for comparing and identifying levels of vocational qualification and vocational skills shall be established, and career development for highly skilled personnel and professional technicians shall be supported. Senior engineers and other highly skilled personnel of various types of employers shall be treated in the same way as professional technicians at relevant levels in terms of learning and education, post recruitment, career promotion, rewards and prizes, and scientific research programs.

17) Carrying forward the spirit of role models, outstanding workers, and craftsmen: New methods shall be used to conduct publicity activities such as “Skills in China”, “Turning up the Light of Skills”, and “China’s Unique Skills” in combination with major events and competitions including the World Skill Competition, vocational skill competitions in China, selection of highly-skilled personnel, and the World Youth Skill Day, so as to spread the success stories of skilled talents, promote the culture of vocational skills, and uphold the spirit of role models, outstanding workers and craftsmen. Local authorities shall work to establish Skills Corner, Skills Campus, and other areas to exhibit skills, promote exchange of skills and professional experience, and guide a wide range of workers particularly younger-generation workers to pay attention to, learn and invest in skills by making use of some education and training venues such as technical colleges, vocational colleges, museums, cultural palaces and youth palaces. Technical colleges and vocational colleges shall strive to provide technical training and publicize the spirit of role models, outstanding workers and craftsmen in training and working activities.

  1. Implementing the “technical cooperation” initiative

18) Successfully organizing the World Skill Competition: The 46th Shanghai World Skill Competition shall be elaborately organized to exhibit China’s achievements in the development of skills and technologies, with a view to providing an innovative and widely influenced competition. Efforts shall be made to actively prepare the World Skill Competition and organize the participation in the competition. A training base for the World Skill Competition shall be established, and a team of technical experts shall be selected, to ensure that training preparation and attendance to the competition shall be properly organized. Furthermore, international skill competitions shall be organized in countries along the “Belt and Road”.

19) Strengthening international exchange and cooperation in technical skills: Asian cooperation funds and “Belt and Road” cooperation programs shall be used to support multilateral and bilateral technical cooperation and assistance to foreign countries and help countries along the “Belt and Road” to improve their vocational skill training systems. Exchange between China and developed countries in the development of vocational skills shall be supported. Younger-generation personnel shall be sent to France, Germany, and other countries to learn and exchange skills. Personnel engaging in the building and management of vocational skills shall be organized to go abroad to exchange experience. China’s technical colleges shall be supported in cooperating with countries along the “Belt and Road” to establish schools and colleges and sending excellent students to study abroad.

20) Strengthening mutual recognition of vocational qualification certificates between China and other countries: Interim measures for the management of overseas vocational qualifications in China shall be studied and developed to regulate activities related to various overseas vocational qualifications in China. In accordance with the requirements for building a team of skilled personnel, management measures for mutual recognition of vocational qualification certificates between China and other countries based on the actual conditions. Personnel with overseas vocational qualification certificates shall be supported in participating in vocational qualification assessment or vocational skill ranking identification, and the flow of skilled personnel between China and other countries shall be encouraged.

Guarantees for implementation

  1. Strengthening organizational leadership: Local authorities shall further learn and implement the spirit of important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping on skilled personnel, be fully aware of the significance of improving the management of technical personnel, include the cultivation of personnel in the important task of building a local team of talents and the “14th Five-year Plan”, and establish a working mechanism in which the Party Committee (Party organization) takes the leadership, relevant departments fulfill their respective duties, enterprises assume primary responsibilities, and a wide range of social sectors play an active part so as to form working synergies. The MHRSS shall, based on local actual conditions, encourage local authorities to build provinces and cities that attach importance to skills and technologies by signing co-building agreements with provincial governments.
  2. Increasing financial support: Local authorities shall expand investment in the management of skilled personnel, make overall plans for the use of various funds such as special funds for improving vocational skills, employment subsidies, unemployment insurance funds, education expenses, and special funds for talents, leverage the role of government funds in an effective manner, and promote the establishment of a mechanism for diversified investment from governments, enterprises, and private sectors.
  3. Providing more publicity and guidance: Local authorities shall spend more time and energy in publicizing the “Skills in China” initiative, carefully arrange publicity activities surrounding the aforesaid five initiatives, broadly interpret policies concerning skilled personnel, and publish the progress and achievements made in the cultivation of talents. Furthermore, they shall spare no effort in recognizing role models and spreading success stories arising from the publicity activities, direct social sectors to pay attention to technical personnel, support the management of technical talents, and create an environment favorable for their career development.
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