China, Africa join forces to empower youth

NAIROBI. –  In the early morning, students enter the Ethiopian Luban Workshop located in a three-storey building of a vocational training institute in eastern Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, where they are taught industrial skills and robotics technologies.

Over the past decade, more than a dozen similar institutions have opened across Africa, symbolizing China’s commitment to sharing its vocational education expertise with the continent. Alongside numerous other China-Africa talent-building cooperation projects, these schools help drive the region toward modernisation and sustainable development.

A group of Luban Workshop students were captivated by their 39-year-old teacher, Yonas Akele, who demonstrated the operation of automated equipment from China, simulating the production process on assembly lines.

The Luban Workshop, named after an ancient Chinese architect, is a vocational training program established in around 20 countries for local communities.

Having once studied in China, Yonas was inspired by Luban Workshop’s integration of theoretical knowledge with practical engineering. Upon his return to Ethiopia, Yonas landed a teaching position here.

“Young Ethiopians are fortunate to have this learning opportunity, and I hope to see more Luban workshops established across Ethiopia,” Yonas said.

Jiang Jiang, head of the Ethiopian Luban Workshop, outlined the facility’s specializations, such as industrial sensors, industrial control, industrial robots and mechatronics.

“When China and Ethiopia collaborated on establishing the Luban Workshop, Ethiopia voiced a need for an advanced training platform catering to key manufacturing sectors, particularly in areas like automated production,” Jiang said.

“The employers are delighted with our graduates’ performance,” Jiang noted, adding that some companies have expressed interest in training their workers at the workshop.

It has organised five training sessions in partnership with local governments and international organisations, benefiting nearly 200 students from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and other nations.

These trained African instructors bring advanced knowledge and technology to their respective communities, thus catalysing Africa’s demographic dividend toward sustainable development.

In collaboration with nations like Tanzania, Seychelles, Rwanda and Ethiopia, the China-Africa Vocational Education Alliance has been revising and developing job standards and professional teaching norms for critical industries in these countries. – Xinhua

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