Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 6:
Labour Market Situation
Labour Administration and Services
Employment Services
Preparing People for Work
Labour Relations
Employees' Rights
and Benefits
Imported Workers
Occupational Safety
and Health
Occupational Safety
and Health Council
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Preparing People for Work

Careers Guidance

The Careers Advisory Service of the Labour Department, through the promotion of careers education, helps young people choose a career best suited to their talents, interests and abilities and also supports careers teachers with back-up information. The public can also find careers information on the service website www.labour.gov.hk/careers.

Throughout the year, the service arranged student group visits to its Careers Information Centre and various commercial and industrial establishments. Its Education and Careers Expo 2006 attracted 198 997 visitors, while the Information Expo for Secondary School Leavers which was co-organised with the Education and Manpower Bureau attracted 15 000 visitors.

Skills Upgrading Scheme

In 2001, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved the allocation of $400 million for the establishment of the Skills Upgrading Scheme (SUS) to provide focused skills training for low skill and low education workers to adapt to the changing economic landscape. By the end of 2006, more than 8 500 classes and over 172 400 training places had been provided under the SUS. The market vending industry was added to the scheme in 2006, bringing the number of industry sectors under the SUS to 24.

Youth Pre-employment Training Programme

The Youth Pre-employment Training Programme was launched in 1999 to enhance the employability of school leavers aged between 15 and 19 through employment-related training, workplace attachment, careers counselling and support services. The seventh programme was concluded in October 2006, with over 7 100 trainees taking part. The eighth programme, for 2006-07, is being carried out in two phases. The first phase, which started in September, attracted over 4 000 participants.

Youth Work Experience and Training Scheme

The Labour Department launched the Youth Work Experience and Training Scheme in July 2002 to provide six to 12 months of on-the-job training for people aged 15 to 24, with an education attainment below degree level. It canvasses training vacancies both from the private and public sectors. In addition, the scheme offers special employment projects tailor-made for different trades and occupations which provide a variety of training opportunities.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are commissioned to offer induction training and case management services 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 employed.

By year-end, 31 465 trainees had filled training vacancies under the scheme. In addition, 16 041 trainees got jobs on the open employment market with the help of their case managers.

To provide 'through-train' service and to maximise the benefits for trainees in the youth pre-employment and work experience schemes, a revolving-door mechanism has been introduced to allow the trainees to move between the two programmes at different stages of the programme year.

Employees Retraining Scheme

The ERB was set up under the Employees Retraining Ordinance in 1992 to help eligible workers adjust to changes in the economic environment. It is a statutory body comprising employer representatives, employee representatives and people in vocational training, retraining and manpower planning as well as government officials. In addition to regular income from a levy collected under the labour importation schemes, the ERB received a recurrent subvention from the Government. In 2006-07, the subvention amounted to some $360 million.

The ERB focuses on assisting unemployed workers, primarily those aged 30 or above with no more than lower secondary education, who have been displaced as a result of economic restructuring. It offers a wide variety of full-time and part-time courses delivered through a network of more than 50 approved training bodies. The major course categories cover job search skills courses, job-specific skills courses and general skills courses (computer and vocational languages). New courses such as healthcare massage courses are being developed, with a view to enhancing the employment opportunities of retrainees and their sustainability in the jobs.

In order to strengthen the Employees Retraining Scheme and to foster the spirit of lifelong learning, the ERB administers two Retraining Resource Centres, one in Cheung Sha Wan and the other at Lok Fu, to provide a wide range of self-learning facilities, job market information and other supporting services to graduate retrainees.

The Integrated Scheme for Local Domestic Helpers, an initiative formally launched in May 2002, provides a one-stop service for job matching, job referral and follow-up services for employers and graduate retrainees of domestic helper courses. A Special Incentive Allowance Scheme for Local Domestic Helpers was introduced by the Labour Department in June 2003 to promote the services of local domestic helpers and to address the mismatch in supply and demand. Under the scheme, an allowance would be provided to qualified retrainees of domestic helper courses who are prepared to work across districts or during unsocial hours. It was decided in 2006 to extend the scheme to March 2008.

In October 2002, the ERB set up a Practical Skills Training and Assessment Centre which carried out standardised skill assessments for retrainees of domestic helper courses. Now, the standardised assessments have been extended to cover personal care worker courses, massage for healthcare courses, hotel room attendant courses, hotel public area cleaner courses as well as home care worker for the elderly courses.

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