Navy officers chart new course in civilian waters

China's People Liberation Army (Navy) sailors from the honour guard march during a welcoming ceremony
PHOTO: Reuters

Forget naval tactics and combat maneuvers and embrace Internet and marketing savvy, the People's Liberation Army navy has told officers who are about to retire from service.

During a 15-day training session that ended on Wednesday at Dalian Naval Academy in Liaoning province, 90 officers who will soon retire from the military were given lectures on how to adapt to civilian jobs and how to start their own businesses.

The session was held by the navy and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

A navy statement said the training was aimed at helping officers who are about to retire to acclimatize to the business sector, improve their ability to handle occupational risks and enhance their civilian careers.

Courses included psychological adjustment, corporate management, human resources systems and Internet applications in businesses.

More than 30 government officials, entrepreneurs and researchers gave lectures to the officers, the statement said.

Managers from more than 100 companies took part in exchange events with the officers. Nearly all the officers reached agreements with the companies on their new jobs, said Lu Mang, director of officers' retirement affairs at the navy's Political Department.

The statement quoted officers as saying that they gained a wealth of useful knowledge and experience from the session that would help them greatly with their new careers.

Chen Xuesong, a captain and researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the ability of retiring officers to land good jobs largely depends on their work in the military.

"If an officer's profession in the military has a wide variety of applications in the business sector, then it will be much easier to find a good job, compared with others whose work has been solely military," he said.

Chen said many officers are reluctant to retire from the military because their income and job benefits continue to rise as a result of the PLA's efforts to improve service members' pay.

However, he said it is vital for officers to undergo occupational training, such as that given in Dalian, because such courses will prepare them for possible moves to civilian jobs.

In 2001, China began to encourage some officers who were retiring to find civilian jobs on their own instead of waiting for the government to arrange opportunities.

A number of favourable policies and measures have been announced to help military retirees with their civilian careers.

To date, more than 150,000 officers have landed civilian jobs through their own efforts, according to PLA Daily.

zhaolei@chinadaily.com.cn

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