Continuing Education

IFTM hosts cross-strait vocational skills festival

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFTM was responsible for Macao’s hosting in early December of the third edition of the Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Vocational Skills Festival. The event involved about 100 instructors and students from a number of vocational education institutions, exchanging insights on topics ranging from career planning to boosting human resource mobility.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional travel, this year’s edition featured an online segment, complementing the offline part of the event. The latter took place at a vocational and technical education activities centre in Seac Pai Van, a facility under Macao’s Education and Youth Development Bureau.

The 2-day festival was jointly held by IFTM, the Guangzhou Vocational School of Tourism and Business, the Guangzhou City Polytechnic, the Chinese Culinary Institute in Hong Kong, and Kai Ping Culinary School in Chinese Taiwan. The Macao Education and Youth Development Bureau helped co-organise the event.

This year’s edition featured keynote presentations, a forum, and a series of skill demonstrations. The overall event covered a total of 5 categories of vocational training: culinary arts; food and beverage service; hospitality service; beauty and hairdressing; and floral art.

Professor Li Ping, who heads the International Exchange and Cooperation Centre of Guangzhou City Polytechnic, says the festival provided a “great platform for mutual learning”, with students showcasing their skills and instructors broadening their horizons. It was also an opportunity to discuss how to increase vocational training standards, and to look into the joint development of teaching materials, she says.

Professor Li points out this was the first time that IFTM and the Guangzhou City Polytechnic had engaged in exchanges on vocational training. She was particularly impressed by the Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System (MORS), developed by IFTM in partnership with the local tourism and hospitality industry.

Li Haoyao was one of the students from Guangzhou City Polytechnic attending the festival in person, demonstrating her knowledge about cocktails. “We presented our best and most creative recipes, and we received positive feedback. This was a great platform for us to learn,” she says.

The Mainland student notes that the vocational skills festival was not a competition. “We were attending it on a ‘learning and appreciating’ basis,” Haoyao says. “We are really happy to have learned so many different techniques and to have achieved fruitful results.”

Learning from others

The first Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Vocational Skills Festival took place in academic year 2015/2016, hosted by the Guangzhou Vocational School of Tourism and Business. For this year’s event, that school sent to Macao a delegation featuring some 40 instructors and students.

The Head of the Department of Hotel Management at the school, Mr. Li Weiwei, highlights the festival’s importance in promoting integration of resources in vocational education in tourism. He says the festival also helps participating students to gain a wider perspective of the professional fields they are studying, by engaging with a variety of educational concepts and techniques.

The Guangzhou Vocational School of Tourism and Business delegation also had the chance to experience the service standards in Macao’s tourism and hospitality industry. “We found out that hospitality in Macao is really great, so we learned a lot from this experience, and can now use that to raise the teaching quality at our school,” Mr. Li says.

For student Chen Jinchuan, from the Guangzhou institution, taking part in the cross-strait festival was part of his preparation for next year’s WorldSkills Competition, to be held in Shanghai. The international contest, staged every 2 years, is the world’s biggest vocational education and skills tournament, and Jinchuan is part of the Mainland team, competing in the cooking category.

“The vocational skills festival is not a competition and there is no pressure of being eliminated,” he says, in comparing the event to WorldSkills. “All participants at the festival put their skills and ideas on show, and shared them with the others. This enhanced mutual improvement,” he says.