China's skills competition as opportunity to enter cooking industry




It's a race between the best of the best. Chef Ma Xiaoliang is a top chef of western cuisine, selected from the Shanghai team to attend China's Vocational Skills Competition in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The competition tests culinary skills from appetizers to main courses. Ma, a chef instructor from Shanghai's Second Light Industrial School, said he valued this opportunity as the contest is the first of its kind in China.

"I am glad to see my skill area is included in this competition. It shows that western cooking has good potential in China. I will share my experience with my students," Ma said.

Western cooking is just one of the 86 categories included in the national competition. The event covers China's 14 major industries, including manufacturing, information technology, transportation, and architecture, representing 70 percent of China's industrial sectors.

The competition has more than 2,557 contestants and nearly half of the participants are vocational school students.

Contestants are competing in areas that include horticulture, hairdressing and cloud computing. Huang Yi/CGTN

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his congratulations to the competition, saying skilled workers are important forces supporting China's manufacturing and innovation.

In recent years, China had been increasing access to vocational training by lowering entry barriers for farmers, migrant workers, and veterans.

China vowed to boost vocational education quality in its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). Modernized vocational education will play an increasingly larger role in boosting employment via reskilling and upskilling the labor force.

"We want to use this platform to let more people know about vocational education, so our talents can gain more social respect," said Shao Weijun, dean of Hangzhou Technician Institute.

Industry leaders said the competition encourages more young people to learn hands-on skills, as the market demands more expertise in these areas.