AkzoNobel launches youth employment skills project

Updated: 2016-05-19 08:31

By Du Juan in Xi'An(China Daily USA)

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AkzoNobel NV, a Dutch multinational focusing on specialty chemicals and coatings, said it is committing itself to the development of western China's talent by launching a youth employment project in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

On April 29, together with London-headquartered Plan International, one of the world's largest child-centered humanitarian development organizations, AkzoNobel announced the Youth Employment Solution for You Project. It will help 800 vulnerable young people, aged 16 to 29 in and around Chengdu, to gain certain skill sets for them to hold down a stable job.

"As we continue to grow our business footprint in western China, we feel obliged to support the market by helping to develop local talent, in addition to our paints and coatings supply," said Lin Liangqi, president of AkzoNobel China.

Western China is experiencing rapid urbanization, which has created markets for many industries. AkzoNobel, like other foreign enterprises, has been accelerating its business expansion in the area.

AkzoNobel launches youth employment skills project

As one of the major cities in western China, Chengdu is home to about 2.2 million rural migrant workers.

"Migrant youths in Chengdu, like young people in any other part of the world, can be a great factor contributing to sustainable economic and social growth, if given the right opportunities," Lin said.

According to official statistics, 60 percent of rural migrant workers are members of the post-80s and post-90s generations. However, only 34.8 percent of them have received job skills training, with even fewer having received an opportunity for proper life skills training.

"The shortage of training has added challenges to urban poverty and vulnerability for unskilled young migrants, in particular young migrant women," said Zhang Hongman, program support manager of Plan International China.

She said Plan International has identified youth employment as a priority program in China.

For the first year of the project, 200 vulnerable young men and women will receive market-oriented vocational training.

The training will cover five areas, including barista training, automotive technician training, room attendant training, restaurant service training and Shu embroidery training, with training in each category lasting for three to eight weeks.

At least 60 percent of the trainees are young women.

Four local employees from AkzoNobel will participate in the life skills training to share their experiences in terms of career development, job seeking and communication skills with the young trainees.

Ruud Joosten, Executive Committee member responsible for Decorative Paints at AkzoNobel, said education strengthens the cities that people live in, work in and connect with.

Chang Cheng, sales manager of a consumer goods company in Chengdu, said his department would like to hire migrant workers, but they often require a longer time to gain the professional skills necessary to fit in compared with local talent.

"We welcome such a project because it can save us time if young workers have received training before they look for a job in companies like mine," he said.

Founded in 1937 in Spain, Plan International started its operation in China in 1995. It has implemented several programs in many provinces and autonomous regions in China, such as Shaanxi, Ningxia, Yunnan, Anhui, Sichuan, Qinghai and Hunan.


(China Daily USA 05/19/2016 page15)