VIENTIANE, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The China-Laos Railway Company (LCRC) has outlined the basic requirements for Lao people applying for jobs in the operation of the China-Laos railway, which is slated for completion in 2021.
Applicants must be able to speak basic Chinese and have a college degree or higher, while preference will be given to those holding a degree in engineering.
Other preferred skill areas include electricians and technicians, transport management and engine repair, local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday quoted Director General of the Department of Technical and Vocational Education under the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, Nouphanh Outsa, as saying.
Officials in charge of the China-Laos Railway Company (LCRC), a joint venture to operate the railway, met with the department to discuss preparations for recruitment.
The company announced recently that as many as 600 Lao nationals will be selected and recruited in three batches for the operation of the railway. The successful applicants will be sent for professional training in China.
The company and the department are considering setting up a committee to supervise the recruitment process, according to Nouphanh.
The first recruitment session is expected to accept 200 people who will go to China's Kunming for training in March or April, taking courses that last 15 to 18 months.
"The challenge is to find sufficient numbers of people with adequate qualifications to fill the job vacancies," Nouphanh said.
Although many Lao nationals have completed courses in China and can speak Chinese, some took courses in fields that are not preferred. In addition, many have taken courses in Lao colleges studying the preferred areas of specialization but do not speak Chinese, he added.
Selection of the first batch of trainees will see the strict application of criteria that require applicants to have taken high level courses in the preferred fields.
To ensure an adequate supply of trained personnel for operation of the railway in the long term, the Lao government is planning to build a railway vocational technical college with the assistance of the Chinese government. Work has already begun on the design of the college which will be built in Lao capital Vientiane and more than 30 teachers have been sent for training in China before taking up posts at the college.
It was reported previously that construction of the China-Laos railway created more than 32,000 jobs for Lao workers.
The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.
The 414.332-km railway, with 198-km tunnels and 62-km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.
The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic in December 2021.