Vocational school graduates quickly finding jobs

Vocational school students, with practical and specific skills, are more popular with some employers in the current bleak job market than some university graduates majoring in a general discipline.

Gu Chenhui, 18, a graduate of Shanghai Dazhong Technical School, secured his job as a quality assurance worker at Shanghai Volkswagen Powertrain Co Ltd last August when he started an internship at the company.

"I haven't thought I would be hired by a joint venture company," Gu said on his way to the middle shift yesterday.

Gu, specializing in bench work, now rotates on three shifts. His starting monthly salary is 3,500 yuan (US$570), almost the same amount a local university graduate quoted when asked.

Gu said he was very satisfied with his job and so were his parents, who couldn't believe their son got such a good job after graduating from a secondary vocational school that usually intakes students who fail the high school entrance exam.

Liang Hua, vice principal of the school, said the school has a good relationship with about 600 companies that provide 3,000 positions every year for graduates.

"Some of our students are booked by companies about a year before their graduation," Liang said. "We arrange students to do internships so that they can be more experienced."

Principals of six vocational schools said their employment rate for this year approaches nearly 100 percent, while only 44 percent of university graduates have received job offers or pursued further studies as of May.

Some vocational graduates earn up to 120,000 yuan a year in some high-demand areas such as computer networking.