More ma­ter­nity ma­trons seek­ing skills up­grade

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By XU XIAOMIN in Shang­hai xux­i­aomin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In a bid to stand out from the grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion, many Chi­nese ma­ter­nity ma­trons are now look­ing to value-add their ser­vices by in­vest­ing in classes to pick up new skills, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try in­sid­ers.

These skills in­clude psy­cho­log­i­cal guid­ance for moth­ers to pre­vent post­par­tum de­pres­sion and tra­di­tional Chi­nese med­i­cal tech­niques such as acupunc­ture and phys­i­cal ther­apy.

Nearly 800 ma­ter­nity ma­trons took part in a re­cent vo­ca­tional skills com­pe­ti­tion in Dongguan, Guang­dong province, and show­cased their pro­fi­ciency in pro­tect­ing the safety and health of their clients.

Those who made it through to the next round will com­pete based on other skills such as cook­ing nu­tri­tious ma­ter­nity meals for moth­ers and sup­ple­men­tary food for ba­bies. The winner of the com­pe­ti­tion will be awarded the La­bor Medal by the city govern­ment.

“Ma­ter­nity ma­trons to­day want to di­ver­sify their skill set. This is a plat­form for them to be able to com­mu­ni­cate and learn from each other, thus im­prov­ing their over­all level of skills”, said Yi Xiaol­ing, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­pe­ti­tion or­ga­nizer.

Gao Yiyan, who works at Ren­ren Do­mes­tic Ser­vice Com­pany in Shang­hai, sug­gested that this en­hance­ment of skill sets is nec­es­sary as clients have in re­cent times been de­mand­ing more from ma­ter­nity ma­trons.

“We get a sense of what clients need through com­mu­ni­ca­tion with new moth­ers. In or­der to im­prove their skills and in­come, ma­ter­nity ma­trons are will­ing to learn more,” said Gao.

The ma­ter­nity care sec­tor in China has been grow­ing in re­cent years as peo­ple be­come more af­flu­ent and can now af­ford to hire ma­trons. Fur­ther­more, in­dus­try ex­perts ex­pect the two-child pol­icy — it took ef­fect on Jan 1, 2016 — to gen­er­ate even greater de­mand for such pro­fes­sion­als.

Ac­cord­ing to Yi, peo­ple born af­ter the 1990s have also be­gan to show greater in­ter­est in pur­su­ing a ca­reer monthly salary in Shang­hai is 8,664 yuan.

The web­page of Kis­sMami, a Shang­hai-based pri­vate nanny com­pany, shows that many of their se­nior ma­ter­nity ma­trons have more than eight years of ex­pe­ri­ence. Most of them also pos­sess cer­tifi­cates re­lated to skills such as nu­tri­tion, lac­ta­tion stim­u­la­tion and child mas­sage.

To be a ma­ter­nity ma­tron in China, one must first pass the re­quired exam and ob­tain a cer­tifi­cate is­sued by the hu­man re­source de­part­ment of the govern­ment.

An in­dus­try in­sider who de­clined to be named said that the ma­ter­nity care mar­ket used to be largely un­reg­u­lated, re­sult­ing in the emer­gence of many fake cer­tifi­cates, an is­sue that was once re­ported. Zhang Baoxia, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Shang­hai Home Ser­vice In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, had also com­mented be­fore that the forgery of such cer­tifi­cates is rife.

“How­ever, with the govern­ment now at­tach­ing more im­por­tance to the in­dus­try, the sit­u­a­tion is get­ting nor­mal­ized,” said the in­sider. “Do­mes­tic ser­vices com­pa­nies that sign for­mal la­bor con­tracts with ma­ter­nity ma­trons have also started to emerge.”

The China Na­tional Stan­dard­iz­ing Com­mit­tee launched na­tional stan­dards for maternal and in­fant care in Fe­bru­ary to help im­prove their ser­vice and skills. Ac­cord­ing to Zhang, Shang­hai will be look­ing to in­tro­duce lo­cal trade stan­dards. She added that au­thor­i­ties plan to un­veil these stan­dards at the be­gin­ning of 2017.

Fang Aiqing con­trib­uted to this story.

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