Isn’t this fascinating?

It’s an outrage that students on vocational courses in China must work in a factory as part of their vocational course. So says Mr. Chakrabortty.

The British Government has a whole section of itself devoted to apprenticeships. Which is a system of labour in factories while studying.

Amazingly, the pay for the two systems is pretty similar. Around $600 a month under both systems.

No, really.

The student labour system in China is a crime crying out to the very heavens according to The Guardian, in fact, according to all right thinking people.

The apprenticeship system in the UK will be the salvation of the country according to The Guardian, in fact, according to all right thinking people.

And they looked from man to pig and pig to man……..

13 comments on “Isn’t this fascinating?

  1. I was in a Chinese shoe factory the other day (well most days I am actually!!) and they gave me this student girl to help with translation. She was happy to be on a work placement getting valuable experience; now if they are really getting arts students to assemble electronics than that’s a bit dodgy but it sounds like its down to corrupt government officials trying to get factories built in their domains rather more than anything i.e. a fault of government not of free enterprise. In my experience anyway the few students I have met on these work placements are doing something worthwhile and are happy with it…. but that doesn’t fit the ‘right-on’ world view of evil capitalists exploiting Chinese peasants (a world view that my daily life experience tells me is a load of fucking bollocks).

  2. Tim, where do you get the $600 a month figure from? It seems rather high in my experience. The minimum wage in shenzhen is about $250/month I think.

  3. VftS,

    Yup. Still going. And employers and students like them. Students frequently get offered jobs at the end of the sandwich year (for when they finish their course) and employers can get people who they can try out.

    But is Chakhrobaty also therefore saying that we shouldn’t send kids out on work experience at school?

  4. I have a spare day to spend in Shenzhen sometime next week, to do something non-illegal, journalistic, or contradictory to the terms of a day-trip L visa. Anything Tim wants to know?

  5. Yeah, chat to a couple of recruiting firms. What are they having to offer in base wages and overtime in order to get staff?

  6. I did a sandwich course at Portsmouth Polytechnic from 1979-1983. When I graudated I found no employer considered my years experience to be of any value and I was lumped in with every other graduate, only I was a year older, and earning an inferior salary to my peers. Different times I know, but worth considering nonetheless.

  7. Thanks for the reply Tim. I doubt these interns are getting the average wage though! You can still get employees on minimum wage but it’s getting harder. One very large shoe factory I was at last year was full of Uyghurs and I asked this manager what that was all about. He told me that the factory would send coaches across the country to Xinjiang driving round the towns offering work in Dongguan. These coaches would quickly fill up and drive back here full of workers. If you’re not doing that then you’re paying more than min wage. Our office assistants get about 3000-4000RMB/month I think. Will check the pay scales tomorrow morning.

  8. The horror! Arts graduates, destined to be the cultural leaders of the country, having to get their hands dirty alongside the proles in a factory?!

    God help them.

  9. What they should be doing, of course, is working as unpaid slaves, sorry interns, at the Guardian or other progressive institutions.

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