The Young Leaders Driving China’s Textile Industry
USTER fosters new talent in 10 years of university programs
Progress in China’s textile industry is increasingly being driven by a young and dynamic generation of professionals – and USTER is proud to play a role in fostering the development of these talented individuals. The company’s close links with Chinese universities started 10 years ago, and in that period USTER has developed a scholarship program which now covers eight universities and has so far involved well over 500 students.
Richard Furter, USTER’s former Head of Textile Technology, started the scholarship initiative and was personally involved in developing the program through its early years. At that time, he was assisted by Ellen Liu, Head of Textile Technology in China, who translated. She remembers that students in the program were immediately impressed by the concept of quality control and management and the potentiality offered by quality testing and monitoring instruments.
Today, the company is still convinced that the USTER scholarship program will encourage successive generations of students to continue the transformation of China’s textile industry from a traditional sector to a modern global player in quality markets. USTER believes it’s important to lay the foundations for this at the textile universities, so that students are introduced to new ideas and become inspired by the possibilities.
Internships for practical experience
Since 2010, USTER has also been offering internships at its laboratory in Suzhou, in collaboration with Donghua University. Each year, two masters degree students are able to gain experience as testing engineers, working with USTER staff – as well as having access to latest test technology to help with their theses. The internships allocate students’ time 50:50 between work in the lab and individual study, all supported by regular training from USTER Textile Technologists.
Ms Liu also continues the popular and valuable program of university lectures started in 2007 by the late and highly-respected USTER expert Richard Furter and continued by Thomas Nasiou, today CEO of Uster Technologies. Both these men spent time lecturing students at Donghua and Qingdao universities. Mr Furter initiated the lecture program based on his personal strong belief that the young professionals will drive the Chinese textile industry into a well-developed, modern business. He put a lot of effort in fostering the future generation. Through a career with USTER spanning 47 years, he was renowned for his seemingly limitless knowledge. He was even asked to write an independent textbook, titled ‘Textile Measuring Technology and Quality Control’ which was officially acknowledged by China’s textile education authorities and has been a ‘set book’ for textile students since 2012.
Scholarships at eight universities
The first USTER scholarships at Donghua University and Qingdao University started in 2008. Since then, the program has expanded to include six more establishments which regard the company as a partner in fulfilling their educational goals: Tianjin Polytechnic University, Xi’an Polytechnic University, Jiangnan University, Zhongyuan University of Technology, Nantong University, and Yancheng Institute of Technology. They appreciate the specific technical focus of the lectures on quality management and control, as well as USTER® STATISTICS.
So far, 563 students at different levels (undergraduate, masters and PHD) have been awarded USTER scholarships. Successful students must demonstrate high performance – in marks and engagement – but also involvement in research and university projects, along with well-developed personal and interactive skills.
Over the years, many USTER scholarship winners have gone on to work in key textile industry posts, or as university professors themselves. “My company employed me as testing engineer when I graduated just because I had learned USTER® instrument knowledge during my internship. I can say that USTER knowledge helped me to gain this career opportunity,” says GuangZhen Guo, who works as a supervisor in CFIB branch in Fujian province. He studied at Donghua University and had the chance to take part in a year-long USTER internship program. Professor Yong Liu was, as a PhD student, a winner of one of the first USTER scholarships in 2008. Today he holds the positions of vice-dean of the textile college of Tianjin Polytechnic University and doctorial supervisor. He says: “I was inspired to devote myself to the textile industry and contribute to the development of textile talents as well as to scientific and technological progress.” This reaction is typical of the majority of students, who report that their scholarship gave them the confidence to remain in the textile sector and the encouragement to anticipate and move changes in China.
Belief in the future of textiles
USTER is convinced that younger staff members are the key to implementing sustainable and successful quality management concepts in the spinning industry. The university environment introduces students to modern methods and attitudes in the textile industry, opening their minds and giving them the courage to challenge strong traditions. “There is a trend now for yarn producers to realize how textile engineers can help to improve the competitive capabilities of their spinning mills. They seek employees with university degrees and offer higher salaries,” says Ms. Liu. “Some companies will even promise quick promotion to ensure that young professionals stay in the job for years.”
The Chinese government has itself recognized the potential benefits of increased quality standards, and launched new initiatives to promote a high quality and brand oriented policy for manufacturing industries in 2016. Students who are ready to embrace quality management concepts will provide a good foundation for this campaign. And Uster Technologies is pleased to take part in the modern development of China’s textile industry through its continuing commitment to supporting the future textile professionals with its scholarship and internship programs.