How to Market Vocational Schools to Chinese Students
Vocational schools, including technical schools and trade schools, are a great way for students to build key skills and lucrative careers that benefit society. Due to China’s focus on test scores, high school, and college, many Chinese students and parents were unaware of the benefits of vocational schools. However, that started to change in 2021 when China began efforts to make education more affordable, decrease competition in schools, and address a technical worker shortage. As part of these efforts, China began encouraging more students to attend vocational schools.
The Chinese Perspective on Vocational Schools
Previously, students considered vocational schools as a secondary choice if they did not achieve high enough test scores to get into high school. Historically, China’s vocational schools often did not adequately prepare students for the workforce. According to the Diplomat in 2021, 20% of one province’s vocational schools did not have teachers, students, or even a building, but rather were set up to receive government funds. Other vocational schools did not have the means to provide a quality education. 56% of vocational school students received training in low-level manufacturing jobs, meaning that after graduation, they would end up in the same jobs as those who went straight from middle school. With those statistics, students often opted out of vocational school to begin working instead.
Chinese Population Demographics and Job Demand
Due to a decrease in births and an increase in life expectancy, China’s population is aging: the number of elderly people is increasing, while the number of people in all other age groups is decreasing. The number of working-age people in China has been decreasing since 2014, and for the first time in 20 years, China’s total population decreased in 2022. The changing population has resulted in a shortage of qualified workers but a high demand for technical jobs, such as in high-level manufacturing. Vocational school students and graduates in China are therefore in high demand and receive multiple job offers, especially for positions in high-level manufacturing. With high demand, now is a great time for Chinese students to invest in a vocational school education.
Vocational School Reform
China’s future depends on its ability to reform vocational schools and change Chinese student and parent mindsets on education. The goal is for students to see vocational school as an equally or more appealing prospect when compared to attending a four-year university. Implementing positive change does not happen overnight, so China issued an amended Law of Vocational Education in 2022. China’s current plan involves increasing teaching quality, creating nationwide standards for resources, curricula, and equipment, encouraging private and industrial investment in vocational education, and more.
These incentives and ongoing reforms will continue to change Chinese students’ and parents’ mindsets about education. We expect these changes to make students more open to a range of educational opportunities not only within China, but abroad as well.
5 Tips to Recruit Chinese Students to Vocational Schools
While Chinese students are becoming more aware of the benefits of vocational schools, they will still need to see tangible benefits from vocational schools both for careers in China and abroad. Sharing these five types of information with Chinese students during recruitment will help students choose their best fit vocational school.
True Student Experience: For Chinese students, conversations with current students are often the most important factor when they are deciding where to apply for school abroad. What do students’ typical days look like? How did their job training experience prepare them for a career after school? What is the student culture like? When prospective students can ask current or graduated students questions such as in forums, or view their content, those students develop a connection to the school. With eduFair, admission representatives can easily collect student-made content like videos and testimonials in the ‘Student Perspective’ section on their school’s e-booth. Check out our article 5 Ways Demonstrate True Student Experience Pre-Enrollment for more tips on how to share true student experience.
Job Statistics: Chinese students want to know that their vocational school experience will lead to a positive career experience. We recommend sharing statistics about your international students’ post-graduation experience, such as the percentage of international students with jobs after graduation, top employers after graduation, average salaries, etc. Statistics on international students’ successes after graduation will show Chinese students the benefits of attending your vocational school.
Company Affiliations: Is your vocational school affiliated with any companies that hire your students post-graduation? If so, let interested Chinese students know about those companies to inspire them with job training experience during school and career opportunities after graduation.
Cost Benefits (Tuition and Time): Vocational school is typically less expensive and takes less time than a four-year college education but is just as impactful for building a career. How does your vocational school’s cost compare to other vocational schools, and how does it compare to 4-year degrees? Are there scholarships that international students can apply for? If your school is more expensive, do the average salaries after graduation balance out that cost? Let interested Chinese students know how your school can help them make the best financial decisions for their future.
Chinese or International Communities: Chinese students also want to know if there are nearby Chinese or international communities that will help them feel more at home, such as Asian restaurants, supermarkets, or associations. Sharing information about communities off-campus will appeal to Chinese students and ease their worries about homesickness.
Chinese students and their parents are gradually becoming more open to the opportunities that vocational schools offer, so now is a great time to recruit Chinese students for your vocational school! To help them decide their best fit vocational school, follow our top five tips, such as sharing job statistics, companies that are affiliated with your school, and content from current or previous students.
For more information on collecting student-made content and sharing information with prospective students, check out our article on how to increase your e-booth’s traffic and audience to make sure you’re getting the most out of eduFair’s features to find the right-fit students for your vocational school!
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