Power worker pro­poses sup­port for skilled team

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Two Sessions - By HOU LIQIANG houliqiang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Be­fore Xu Qi­jin started main­tain­ing power lines in Suzhou, An­hui prov­ince, his time af­ter night­fall was mostly spent in dark­ness. “Life was hard then. Even the kerosene lamp was a lux­ury and could usu­ally only be used when do­ing home­work,” he said.

On a visit to down­town Suzhou, the mem­ber of the 13th Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence made a de­ci­sion to do work that could help peo­ple get power for light­ing.

“When I saw a bulb, I thought how good it would be if I could do home­work un­der the light from it,” said Xu, 55, from the Suzhou branch of the State Grid.

When he grad­u­ated from high school at age 19, he dis­cov­ered that a lo­cal power sta­tion was re­cruit­ing and he didn’t hes­i­tate to ap­ply.

The work was not easy. “We had to spend half of the work­ing day walk­ing in moun­tain­ous ar­eas or through farm­land to check the grid. The rest of the time, we had to work on steel frames up to 70 me­ters high, root­ing out grid mal­func­tions,” Xu said.

Some­times, he and his col­leagues had to work more than 100 kilo­me­ters away from home. In­stead of com­mut­ing ev­ery day, he stayed in the area for up to a week, shar­ing a bed with more than two of his col­leagues.

“The frames got so hot dur­ing the sum­mer they could burn your skin if you didn’t wear gloves. In win­ter, they were so cold that it was some­times dif­fi­cult to re­move your bare hands,” said Xu, who was also a del­e­gate to the 19th Com­mu­nist Party of China Na­tional Congress, held in Oc­to­ber.

Xu didn’t ex­pect to stay in the post for 36 years. “It was only the year be­fore last that I didn’t have to climb the frames any more. My ap­pren­tices stopped me from do­ing that con­sid­er­ing my age,” he said.

“I thought about chang­ing to an­other job, but when I look at th­ese grids I feel so proud of my job.”

This time, he only had one pro­posal to be handed to the CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee about giv­ing more pref­er­en­tial poli­cies to the de­vel­op­ment of skilled work­ers in the coun­try.

“The cen­tral au­thor­i­ties plan to de­velop ar­ti­fi­cial intelligence. AI de­vel­op­ment can­not be achieved with­out the sup­port of a team of qual­i­fied skilled work­ers,” he said.

Xu said he be­gan work­ing on the pro­posal last month. Af­ter work, he talked with work­ers from other com­pa­nies to find out their opin­ions. He also spent his week­ends re­search­ing the topic.

Xu said he now spends most of his time train­ing ap­pren­tices, hop­ing to con­trib­ute to the build­ing of a team of skilled work­ers for the coun­try.

CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee mem­ber

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