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Job opportunities starting to flow

2009. 27 July

by Yang Jian
( Liu Shenjun, a German Bochum University graduate, used to be an editor at the German Northwest TV station and a TV opera script writer. But she gave it all up in February to work for the Germany Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo.

"I don't mind that I may lose the job six months after Expo 2010 finishes because there will be few chances to take part in such a meaningful event,?the woman from China's Jilin Province said. She is the first worker recruited for the Germany Pavilion and is now a media assistant for the German Expo team in Cologne.

Key words

She stated applying for the German positions right after hearing about them from friends. She said she was attracted by two key words ?"China?and "Expo.?

Next year's World Exposition in Shanghai will not only be an opportunity for people to visit pavilions and exhibitions from nearly 200 countries but also a chance to obtain work experience with these countries.

Around 10 national Expo pavilions have started a global talent search for workers for pavilions operation and to welcome visitors. They are offering 100 to 500 positions each, ranging across a variety of fields from managers to drivers.

Germany is recruiting a total of 450 workers with considerable payments of 1,200 euros (US$1,704) per month. Australia is looking for 180 positions, including two manager posts. Switzerland only wants waiters for its restaurants. And Japan and Finland are recruiting guides. France and Spain will kick off their recruitment drives soon.

Language is the common qualification. Fluent Chinese is required in most pavilions, considering around 95 percent of Expo visitors are expected to be domestic.

And all the positions are available to both Chinese and foreign people.

The Expo will have about 36 stand-alone pavilions, so more than 3,000 positions will become available at the 2010 event.

Being the assistant to Marion Conrady, the German pavilion press officer, Liu's daily task includes preparing a monthly bilingual newsletter and receiving media who want to report on Germany's Expo showcase.

Because of the six-hour time difference between the two countries, she sometimes has to get up at midnight to communicate with Chinese journalists. "But I really enjoy the job,?she said.

Angela Yuan, a Chinese-descent Australian, made a similar choice as Liu, abandoning her management position at the URBN hotel in Shanghai to work for the Australia Pavilion.

She has been recruited as the center's Functions Manager. "This is something that will certainly help my future career,?Yuan said.

She will work full-time in the pavilion during Expo to coordinate all Aussie staff to provide the best service to visitors.

"The Aussie organizer will bring the highest level of hospitality management and expertise to the pavilion and this is something that I wanted to be a part of,?she said.

Valuable experience

To work at the Expo will be a fantastic and valuable experience, but also temporary. The May-to-October event will last for 184 days.

"I prefer a longer or permanent job to develop my career,?said Li Yizheng, a new graduate from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade who is working as an intern at a government agency in Shanghai.

He said if he applies for an Expo position, he will have to start job hunting again after the event.

However, Juliane Barnikol, a postgraduate from Germany's University Koeln majoring in East Asia and China, has a different opinion.

She is now assistant to the director of the Germany Pavilion, her first job since graduation.

"I do not mind at all,?she said. "It is normal for a new graduate to hop to other jobs within one or two years and busy is better than having nothing to do.?

Her daily job includes interviewing applicants for work in the Germany Pavilion, administration for the German Expo team and preparing trips for the team to Shanghai.

She describes the job as a "positive challenge?because there are many new tasks and every day is exciting.

"University graduates should grasp the Expo opportunity,?said Zhuang Meichun, deputy director of the Shanghai Foreign Service Co, a city talent agency. "They might do some different jobs in the future, but this is a fantastic beginning and will be a highlight of their career.?

Zhuang is working with the Shanghai Expo organizer to recruit 130 interns for the event from local university graduates. They will be employed in 28 areas, including secretarial, archive management, marketing, construction, legal services and public relations.

They will work in the Expo bureau, the national pavilions or government institutions on the Expo site.

"Applicants need not worry about losing work when the event finishes because it will be easier to find a satisfactory job with the Expo experience,?Zhuang said.

Those who work at Expo should have a happy disposition and always be ready to dedicate themselves to the visitors, he suggested. "They will be ambassadors of the country they are working for.