Our apprenticeship program in China, through a unique school-business partnership, is helping bridge the gap between education and employment, while addressing the industry's skilled labor shortage.
What do advanced mathematics, statistics and Latin have in common? All are academic subjects that most people will probably never use in their professional lives.
These examples may be extreme, but they illustrate the mismatch sometimes observed between what many young people have to offer and the knowledge and skills employers are looking for in new recruits.
It’s this growing disconnect between the world of education and that of employment that our apprenticeship program in China is looking to bridge through a distinctive approach: a school-business partnership.
Hannah Dong, Director Technical Learning & Information at Schindler China, who is responsible for our apprenticeship program in China, explains how this partnership works. "It’s a unique set-up." We work closely with a number of selected schools in each of the six regions in China where we have operations, explains Hannah.
These "cooperating schools" are generally located in proximity to our "high-portfolio Schindler branches" – those managing over 6,000 units, and always on the lookout for talent.
What does this partnership entail? We work together with these schools to involve student education, which includes defining classroom courses; developing new content, even setting up shared training centers, or awarding scholarship programs. Our colleagues in China also routinely provide technical training for teachers, Hannah explains.
By partnering with schools in this way, our program ensures that what young people learn in the classroom is immediately relevant and applicable when they enter the workplace – helping us address the industry’s shortage of skilled labor, while equipping these young people with marketable skills they’ll be able to use throughout their career. It’s also an opportunity for young people to assess at an early stage whether the reality of the job aligns with their expectations.
"We want our apprentices to understand from the outset our industry and the challenges they’ll face in the field," Hannah says.
Today, our apprenticeship program in China recruits an average of 800 apprentices per year from over 100 different schools – with more than 65% of our recruits coming out of these cooperating schools.
Once they’ve joined our apprenticeship program, our apprentices divide their time between a Schindler training center and gaining hands-on work experience, allowing our apprentices to not only get up close and personal with our products in a safe and controlled environment – but also to get a real feel for what their future career will look like.
More than 65% of the apprentices who complete the program decide to stay on to pursue a career with us.
Xuan Wang, an apprentice who is based in the Wuhan branch, was keen to join Schindler due to its leading reputation in the elevator industry. He says he’s grateful for the support he’s received so far. "My supervisors have taught me a lot and are patient when explaining things to me, ensuring that I fully understand," he says.
For Hengbin Liang, a Schindler China apprentice stationed in the Xi'an branch, the ability to apply what he’s learnt at school to real-world situations has been the most gratifying aspect of his journey: "I’ve really enjoyed seeing how theoretical knowledge and concepts that I learned in school are applied in practice in the workplace."