Workers assemble a train in a factory of CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co in Changchun this month. (ZHU XINGXIN / CHINA DAILY)
SHENYANG - Yu Jing, 46, is the only female senior welding technician in CRRC Dalian, a leading locomotive maker in China.
Confused by the many different vocational majors upon graduation from junior high school, she chose a male-dominated profession due to the words of her father.
"The sparks from welding are like fireworks. You can have a shot," said her father, who worked as a turner and wanted his daughter to take a less tiring job.
My thoughts are simple: I just want to master a skill to find my own foothold in society
Yu Jing, Senior Welding Technician, CRRC Dalian
Although life was not as easy as her father imagined, Yu has held the job for 27 years to become a top-notch welder and an important worker at her company.
"Yes, welding sparks are beautiful, but the beauty comes at a price. There are burns on every welder's skin," Yu said.
Her father believed welding would be straightforward, needed only in cases of maintenance, but Yu found this was not true. Welding is tough.
"My thoughts are simple: I just want to master a skill to find my own foothold in society," Yu said.
With this in mind, Yu has always been eager to learn new things. As one of her many honors, she won a welding contest at her company in 2004, and in 2013 became the first female winner of a city-level welding competition.
To raise the welding quality of a key load-bearing part, she altered the previous procedure by changing the start point for welding and the angle of the welding gun, raising the ratio of welded parts passing quality tests from 50 percent to 100.
Her improvement was included in the company's standard procedure to ensure the quality of trains.
Put simply, Yu is a master welder.
This year, she was elected as a delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
"We will build an educated, skilled, and innovative workforce, foster respect for model workers, promote quality workmanship, and see that taking pride in labor becomes a social norm and seeking excellence is valued as a good work ethic," a key report delivered at the national congress said.
"My greatest feeling is that the country thinks highly of workers like us," Yu said. "As the country is moving to become a manufacturer of quality, workers should keep learning and improve their skills to ensure product quality."
To encourage the spirit of craftsmanship, the company set up a workshop named after Yu to train more skilled workers.
"After attending the 19th CPC congress, I feel that I should not only do a good job myself, but also attract young workers to join me and let everyone have the spirit of craftsmanship," Yu said.
In China, this kind of spirit is rapidly growing, and improving the image of Chinese products.
This year's WorldSkills Competition, the world championship of vocational skills, was held in Abu Dhabi in October.
With an average age of less than 21 years, 52 Chinese participants won 15 gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals, winning the most medals and total points among 68 countries and regions.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference following the “1+6” roundtable dialogue meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on September 12, 2017. (WANG ZHAO / AFP)
"Young skilled workers are irreplaceable in pushing manufacturing and service sectors to a higher level and in realizing quality economic development," Premier Li Keqiang said last month when meeting the contestants.
At present, there are 165 million skilled workers in China, but this is not enough to meet the country's economic development needs.
READ MORE: Chinese premier stresses craftsmanship
"Craftsmanship should be reflected in every product and every procedure, and should become a pillar for building a strong manufacturing nation," Li said. "It will be helpful for Chinese brands entering the global arena if youngsters are keen to become craftsmen and pursue excellence."
Despite her many honors, Yu insists there is nothing extraordinary about her. "I still need to make constant progress, and consult with more experienced workers when problems appear," she said.