1Literature Review The training provision and skill level of the labor force of a nation has been widely regarded as essential to organizational and national performance in an era of global competition. China, with one of the largest labour forces in the world, has often been criticized for the low quality if its labour supply”(Fang 2005). On the other hand the labour force in the UK does not come even close to China’s population size, but it is plagued with some of the same problems which beset China. The inability to retrain the current labour force, and meeting the numerical demands for additional skilled labour, is affecting its competitive edge, within the European community and on the world stage.
In a report recently completed by the British Chamber of Commerce; 300 employers were surveyed and, “…55 % of those surveyed are finding it more difficult to recruit skilled workers now, compared to five years ago” (Price 2007) At the end 1998, there were 699 million employees in China. Among them, 206.7 million were urban employees, accounting for 29.6 %, and 492.7 million lived in rural areas, accounting for 70.4%.
Among the urban employed, 184 million were employees in enterprises of various types of ownership and 22.59million were self employed. Among the rural labor force, 372 million worked in the agricultural sector, 74.49 million were employed by township and village enterprises (TVEs) and 35.86 were self-employed. By the end of 1998, registered unemployed workers in urban China had reached 5.71 million. The registered unemployment rate was 3.1%”(Fang 2005). It is clear that China was faced with a monumental problem on 2the basis of sheer numbers of individuals within its labor force, which was considered to be the primary target for retraining, and this was compounded by the vast numbers of individuals who were unemployed, and in need of retraining to re-enter the labour force.
This burgeoning downturn was obviously recognized by the government prior to 1998, because on May 15, 1996 The Standing Committee of the Eighth National People’s Congress enacted order No. 69; The Vocational Education Law of the People’s Republic of China. This law calls for a redirection on the scope and policies which would guide the vocational training effort in the republic.
The government became the proactive force and decided the scope and stipulated the implementation and philosophy, which the people of the Republic would be compelled to follow, to ensure that the country accomplishes its objectives; increasing the quantity and quality of production, while ensuring that a maximum number of citizens receive appropriate skills training. Accomplishment of these objectives will empower the country to remain competitive in the local and world markets, by providing the numbers and quality of skilled workers which the various types of businesses require.
Additionally, it will reduce the national unemployment rate. “…the general provisions of the law stipulates that the state shall take all measures to promote employment, develop vocational education and that workers shall upgrade their vocational skills. At the same time the law has a special chapter, Chapter 8, on vocational training, which clearly specifies the responsibilities to be borne by the state, governments at all levels, employers and workers for the