Program to counter exodus of domestic helpers during festival
Householders are being reassured that an expected shortage of housekeepers in Beijing will not be as severe as first feared, thanks to a training program supported by the government that created 12,000 new maids in 2009.
The sudden shortage of maids is a hot issue each year before Spring Festival as thousands of housekeepers leave the city to return to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year.
The maid shortage has been dire in the past and the Beijing Homemaking Service Association said 160,000 families could lose their help during the festival.
However, the influx of newly trained maids this year should clean up much of the problem, says Guo Jianqiang, deputy director of the equity department of the Beijing municipal federation of trade unions, the department in charge of the training program.
"The graduates from the training program can cover the shortage to some degree," said Guo of the course that started in October and completed on Dec 31.
Guo said most graduates who have been recently employed will not go back to their hometowns for the festival.
Some 25 million people work in the housekeeping sector nationwide.
Guo said the program was aimed at helping migrant workers find jobs.
The training course is still ongoing and the government hopes to train 60,000 maids in 2010, Guo added.
Wang Xiuzhen, a 44-year-old woman from Hebei province, said she will not return to her hometown for Spring Festival because she only started work on Jan 5 after graduating from the program in December.
Managers from housekeeping companies said the influx of graduates was helping them cope with shortages.
One manager said her company had hired 100 graduates.
She said new employers were signing up around six graduates each day.
The government invested 20 million yuan in the training program and instruction was offered for free to would-be maids recommended by housekeeping companies.
The government certified 19 schools and training institutions in Beijing to carry out the work.
Beijing City University was among institutions taking part, training 900 maids during 15-day sessions that taught cooking, nursing, cleaning and more.
"The maids had to pass a strict examination before they graduated," said Zhang Yonghong, who was in charge of the program at the university.
Zhang said the university is thinking of including English classes in 2010.
taken from : China Daily