중앙데일리

Technical schools’ students find success

Feb 27,2016
Kang Myung-soo knew he made a smart decision when he chose to attend a technical college to specialize in computer information systems.

Graduating just last month, he already has a job offer lined up at Rakuten, the largest e-commerce company in Japan.

“I heard from a fellow graduate at my school that Japan cares more about the skill-sets its employees bring, not so much about their college backgrounds,” he said.

Kang, 25, took a course covering Japanese IT corporations at Yeungjin College. The class welcomed students looking to enter the Japanese job market, and for three years, they learned the Japanese language and programming languages used by Japanese corporations.

“Classes were held through the [school] breaks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and many students stayed behind to study,” he said. “The professors often helped us write resumes and prepare for interviews late into the night.”

Jeong Yeong-cheol, a professor at the technical college, said the courses are planned around close analysis of Japanese corporations. “If the school finds out some Japanese corporations are using new programs and software, we begin teaching the students about them immediately.”

Technical colleges in Korea have been noticeably successful in helping their graduates find jobs abroad, more so than four-year universities.

According to the Korean Council for University College Education (KCCE), in 2014, the employment rate of technical college graduates rose steadily to reach 47.1 percent of total employment among graduates of four-year universities and technical colleges.

Of the total graduates from higher education institutions in Korea, 37.8 percent studied at technical colleges, and the percentage of technical college graduates employed overseas has far exceeded that of four-year university graduates.

The technical colleges with more than 50 graduates employed abroad are Baekseok Culture University, with 78 graduates employed; Yeungjin College, with 78; Daelim University College, with 63; Yeungnam University College, with 61; and Shingu College, with 54.

“The wall in the job market for culinary arts, tourism, beauty and the IT sectors is easier to scale for foreigners,” said Ahn Jeong-geun, a KCCE researcher. “As it is becoming more difficult to find quality work in Korea, technical colleges are focusing on helping students find jobs abroad.”

The technical colleges that focused their curriculum on the college’s specialties reaped results.

Baekseok Culture University focused its curriculum on leisure sports and tourism. Seo Hyo-sung, a graduate of the university, who had never swum before she enrolled, is now teaching scuba diving in the Philippines.

“I started taking swimming classes after I heard a diving license could open doors abroad,” she said.

The 23-year-old graduate successfully received her master scuba diver license in three years and went to the Philippines on a diving internship program provided by her college.

“The job market in Korea is saturated at this point, but opportunities abound abroad,” said Choi Seong-gi, a professor of the global restaurant and tourism department at the university.

“[When looking for a job in Southeast Asia,] there is merit to being Korean.”

Daelim University College is also running an overseas internship program designed to help its graduates find permanent jobs in the service sector abroad.

“Korean students have a competitive edge in the service sector, especially in hotel services,” said Kim Dong-woo, the school’s international exchange program director.

“The key to success for these overseas internship programs lies in prior research and setting firm foundations to help graduates turn the internships into more permanent jobs overseas.”

BY NAM YOON-SEO, KIM JUN-YOUNG AND YUN JAE-YEONG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]


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