The Careers Advisory Service of the Labour Department, through the promotion
of careers education, helps young people to choose a career best suited
to their talents, interests and abilities and also supports careers teachers
with back-up information. The public can also access careers information
published by the service through its website.
Throughout the year, the service arranged student
group visits to its Careers Information Centres and various commercial
and industrial establishments. Its Education and Careers Expo 2003 attracted
184 359 visitors and a total of 159 037 students took part in its Careers
The Finance Committee approved in June 2001 the allocation of $400 million
for the provision of focused skills training for workers with secondary,
or below, education. By December 31, 2003, the number of industry sectors
brought under the Skills Upgrading Scheme had increased from six in 2001
to 17. These were: Printing, Chinese Catering, Retail, Import and Export
Trade, Transportation, Wearing Apparel and Textile, Hotel, Tourism, Hairdressing,
Property Management, Insurance, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering,
Real Estate Agents, Building Maintenance and Decoration, Beauty Care,
Passenger Transport, and Elderly Care. By year-end, 55 703 trainees from
3 088 classes had completed training.
The Youth Pre-employment Training Programme was first launched in 1999
to enhance the employability of school leavers aged 15 to 19 through a
wide range of employment-related training, workplace attachment, careers
counselling and support services. The fourth programme was concluded in
June, with about 10 300 trainees taking part.
The fifth programme, for 2003-04, is being delivered
in two phases. The first phase, which commenced in September, attracted
some 6 500 participants.
To enhance the employability of young people, the Government allocated
$400 million to launch the Youth Work Experience and Training Scheme in
July 2002. Administered by the Labour Department, it aims at providing
on-the-job training of six to 12 months' duration for young people aged
15 to 24, with an education attainment below degree level.
The Labour Department canvasses training vacancies
from various industries in the private sector as well as the public sector.
In addition, special employment projects tailor-made for different trades
and occupations are launched to provide diversified training opportunities
for trainees under the scheme.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been commissioned
to offer induction training and case management service to trainees. Case
managers, who are registered social workers from NGOs, assist trainees
to formulate career plans, identify suitable training vacancies, prepare
for selection interviews, review their job search strategy, and adapt
to the work environment after they are placed into employment.
The target of the scheme is to provide 10 000 training places by July 2004. This target was achieved in November,
eight months ahead of schedule. By year-end, 10 971 trainees were successfully
placed in training vacancies under the scheme. In addition, 7 632 trainees
were placed in other jobs in the open employment market with the advice
and assistance of their case managers.
Feedback from trainees, employers and NGOs on the
scheme is highly favourable. Independent consultants from the Centre for
Social Policy Studies of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have also
confirmed the effectiveness of the scheme in enhancing the employability
of young people in a mid-term review conducted in 2003.
The Employees Retraining Scheme (ERS) was launched in 1992 to provide
retraining to eligible workers to assist them in taking on new or enhanced
skills so that they can adjust to changes in the economic environment.
It is administered by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) which is a
statutory body set up under the Employees Retraining Ordinance, comprising
representatives from employers, employees, persons related to vocational
training and retraining or manpower planning as well as the Government.
In addition to regular income from a levy collected under the labour importation
schemes, the Government provided a recurrent subvention of $378 million
The ERS focuses on assisting displaced workers who
have experienced difficulties in seeking alternative employment. The main
target group of the scheme is displaced workers aged 30 or over with no
more than lower secondary education. The scheme offers a wide variety
of full-time and part-time courses delivered through a network of more
than 50 approved training bodies. The courses broadly fall into seven
categories: courses on job search skills, job-specific skills, general
skills (computer and vocational languages), courses for the elderly, courses
for people with disabilities, tailor-made courses and self-employment
During the year, 60 600 full-time and
56 900 part-time retraining places were provided under the
ERS. The two Retraining Resource Centres, in Yau Ma Tei and Lok Fu, continued
to provide self-learning facilities, job market information and other
supporting services to all graduate retrainees. The objective is to reinforce
the effectiveness of the ERS and foster the concept of lifelong learning.
The 'Integrated Scheme for Local Domestic Helpers
(LDHs)', an initiative launched in May 2002 to provide a one-stop service
comprising job placement, referral and follow-up service for employers
and graduate retrainees of domestic helper courses, has been running with
success. To enhance the quality of training, the ERB set up in October
2002 a Practical Skills Training and Assessment Centre to administer a
standard skills assessment for graduate retrainees of domestic helper
courses. Retrainees who pass a practical skill assessment test will be
issued a 'competency card' in recognition of the skills standard they
have achieved. To further promote the service of LDHs and to address the
mismatch in supply and demand in the LDH market, the 'Special Incentive
Allowance Scheme for LDHs' was introduced in June as part of the SARS-related
employment packages. (More details of the incentive scheme are given
at the start of this chapter, in the paragraphs on action taken during
the SARS outbreak).