Young Lo Pan inherit construction wisdom
Last Monday (15 July) was Lo Pan Patron’s Day. I was invited to officiate at the presentation ceremony of the Young Lo Pan Award. Apart from promoting the spirit of Lo Pan, the Master of Crafts, the ceremony also aimed to recognise young practitioners with outstanding performance in the construction industry, so as to foster their sense of belonging to the industry and encourage more young people to join. At the ceremony, the atmosphere was vibrant and full of energy thanks to the attendance of young people who are new blood in the industry. In particular, I have invited two young awardees to share stories of how they joined the industry and details of their work.
Master Lo Pan was the greatest builder, carpenter and inventor in ancient China, and is worshipped as the master of practitioners of the construction industry. Handed down through generations are not only his superlative craftsmanship and the tools he invented, but also, more importantly, his motivation to pursue excellence in his skills, his commitment to established rules and his mindset to strive for evolution through innovation.
Promoting the use of innovation and technology in the industry
In recent years, the local construction industry has been facing the problems of an ageing workforce and shortage of skilled workers. While the Government has been strengthening construction manpower training to enhance the skill levels of the labour force on one hand, it has also taken the lead in promoting the use of innovative technology on the other, for example, piloting the use of Modular Integrated Construction in public projects, and applying Building Information Modelling in construction projects to optimise designs and co-ordination. In addition, the virtual reality (VR) technology is applied to safety training to enhance the safety awareness of construction workers. I hope all our young Lo Pan will keep abreast of the times and the latest technology development, and proactively harness and apply new technologies.
Keen demand for construction services
On the day of the ceremony, I was pleased to witness a group of young construction practitioners being presented with various 2019 Young Lo Pan awards in recognition of their outstanding craftsmanship and career achievements. With a keen demand for construction services coming up in Hong Kong, all young people, with or without an award, will have a promising career as long as they continue to upgrade themselves and strive for continuous excellence in the industry. Mr Teddy KWOK, this year’s winner of the “Excellent Young Lo Pan Award”, is one excellent example.
Passing the baton to a new generation
15 years ago, Mr Teddy KWOK joined the construction industry and started as a project assistant. Today, he is a project manager. After completing Form 5, he studied the Higher Diploma course in Structural Engineering and completed it in 2004. Ever since joining the industry, he has continued to study and gained valuable work experience under the guidance of the trade’s senior members and colleagues. According to him, it is of utmost importance “not to care about getting an unfavourable deal” while at work. As it is sometimes the case that a company might not have enough resources to meet all the needs of the works at hand, staff may have to take on additional duties, which, however, is also an opportunity for them to learn different skills such as how to draw graphics, hold a meeting and draft documents.
In recent years, Mr Teddy KWOK has become an active participant in the trade’s volunteer services. For example, to strengthen the confidence of the industry’s young entrants, he volunteers as a career mentor for the Construction Industry Council to help young people form a clear vision of their career direction and goal, hoping to pass the baton to them.
Dedicated to the industry
I was pleased to see so many dedicated young practitioners at the award presentation ceremony. Mr CHAN Wang-tat, winner of the “Construction Crafts” award, is only 19 this year. After graduation from secondary school at 17, he attended the Painting & Decoration course at the Hong Kong Institute of Construction. Recalling the reasons for joining the industry, he says that he witnessed his friend’s home undergoing redecoration and found the entire process, from conception to completion, very interesting. He says that he is motivated to stay in the trade for further development because of the job satisfaction, his masters’ whole-hearted teaching and the good working atmosphere. He is also interested in pursuing further studies in interior design and art painting so as to reach a new level in the trade.
The construction rules established by Lo Pan and the tools invented by him are still widely used today, such as the ink markers, saws and L-shaped rulers. I have faith that every young Lo Pan will pass on the master’s spirit and construction wisdom. Looking ahead, while we will continue to implement various public works projects to benefit people’s livelihood, I hope that all our young practitioners will be able to quickly grasp the new technologies in the construction industry and keep working hard to start a new chapter for the industry.
21 July, 2019