As reshoring continues to bring manufacturing jobs home to the U.S., China is figuring out how to leverage its impressive manufacturing chops with much less American investment.
One way is to improve technical training in China. Instead of an army of low-paid workers, China is ready to focus on manufacturing innovation and highly skilled work. Rexroth is helping.
Rexroth’s training system, which pairs classroom training with on-the-job experiential learning, has been working well in Europe since the 19th century. It’s making inroads in the U.S., too, making inroads on the skills gap that is slowing down the reshoring movement. And now it’s becoming a part of China’s manufacturing upgrade plans.
China’s government has a 10-year plan to bring China’s manufacturing prowess out of the low-end assembly jobs and into higher value manufacturing. Rexroth has been providing its traditional dual vocational training system in cooperation with the Tianjin Sino-Germany Vocational Education College since 2011. Its training programs are extremely competitive, and graduates have a leg up when it comes to finding jobs.
Some students travel long distances between the campus and the manufacturing plants, spending several months at once before returning to the other. It’s essential that they have the chance to learn from experienced workers in the factories, as well as from the experts in the classroom.
The biggest obstacles to extending training programs like this are, first, the lack of expert trainers in China, and second, the cultural resistance to the idea. The high value placed on a university education makes it hard for Chinese companies to make the investment in vocational training which they need if they are to move into the next stage of manufacturing for China.