The construction industry has always been an important driving force behind Hong Kong’s economic and social development. To attract more new entrants to join the industry, the Construction Industry Council (CIC), with the support of the Development Bureau (DEVB) and in partnership with more than 20 professional institutions, trade associations, workers’ unions and training institutions, has launched a large-scale campaign to promote the local construction industry. I was delighted to be part of the launch ceremony. To encourage more people to join our family, I have invited the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr LAU Chun-kit, Ricky, to share with us the multi-pronged measures the Government has adopted to enhance the overall productivity of the construction industry. A number of young people will also share with us their views on the prospects of the industry.
Building Hong Kong's future – highly relevant to people’s daily lives
I really like the theme of the promotion campaign – "Design for Future Build for Life". "Design for the Future" is not only about the construction industry building Hong Kong's future, it is also about the need to show Hong Kong people, particularly young people, the brilliant prospects of the construction industry and the future it will bring. As the future development of the construction industry is closely related to manpower and advances in cutting-edge construction technologies, we need to nurture more new blood for the industry. Under "Build for Life", we let the public know that the construction industry does not only provide practitioners with job opportunities, but also benefits society and gives practitioners space to unleash their boundless creativity in forming land and building housing units and numerous facilities, all closely related to the daily lives of the general public.
Total construction volume reaching $300 billion per year
The Government’s annual expenditure on capital works will exceed $100 billion in the next few years. Taking into account the projects to be implemented in both public and private sectors, the annual total construction volume will reach the level of $300 billion. Mr Ricky LAU tells us that, to seize the opportunities ahead, the DEVB has adopted a multi-pronged approach, implementing measures to uplift the overall productivity by enhancing training and recruitment, and at the same time promoting the application of advanced construction techniques and the latest technologies in the industry.
$1 billion to subsidise 27 000 training places
He says that the Government attaches great importance to manpower training and development in the construction industry. This year, $1 billion has been allocated to the CIC to provide 27 000 training places for skilled workers over the coming six years. To attract more young people to join the industry, the Government will continue to work with tertiary institutions and training providers to enhance training for skilled and professional workers, promote the professional image and career prospects of the industry, and highlight its contribution to community building to the public.
Promoting construction sites that use advanced technologies
Together with the industry, the Government will strengthen promotion by sharing practitioners’ stories and construction knowledge, in order to change the industry’s image and let the public have the new impression that “construction sites are high tech”. In recent years, innovative technologies, such as Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), where most of the works processes are done in the factory, have been widely adopted by the construction industry. Not only does it save manpower, but it also enhances construction safety. At the same time, we have been encouraging the industry to keep using innovative technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and “Smart Site Safety System”, in architectural design and construction.
Also, in order to nurture talents from a young age, the DEVB, the Education Bureau, the CIC and other works departments have organised field trips and compiled online learning resources with professional organisations, so that schools can pass on construction-related STEAM knowledge to the next generation.
Job-changers to the construction industry
Mr WONG Tsz-lung, graduating from the Hong Kong Institute of Construction this year, says that he has decided to make a career change after seeing the Government making large investments in infrastructure, which can provide practitioners with career pathways and more opportunities for career development. He encourages young people to join the construction industry since the entry threshold is reasonable. Also, during training in the Institute, trainees can receive subsidies and there is no need to pay any tuition fee. The courses also place great emphasis on safety training. According to him, sometimes workers may pay less attention to construction safety when they focused too much on task deadlines. He however has the view that, as long as safety measures are implemented properly, the overall construction efficiency will be enhanced.
Providing diverse employment opportunities
Social and technological advances have created new trades and technical requirements for the construction industry. A student of the School of Architecture of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Miss HO Ho-yan, shares with us that she has enjoyed drawing since she was a young girl and that she feels very satisfied when the design concept of architecture and space come into reality through drawing. The construction industry involves various elements such as art and life, as well as numerous aspects such as building safety design, innovative construction methods, construction digitialisation, urban renewal, and building renovation, offering diverse career opportunities to young people.
Improved working environment
Mr SO Kin-wa, a graduate of IVE, says that the construction industry has been traditionally perceived as an industry of manual work. However, with technological advancement, the industry not only provides young people with opportunities to join the industry, but also a good working environment. He now works as a BIM technician in a surveying company and mostly works in the office. This year, he was awarded the Medallion for Excellence in Digital Construction in the WorldSkills Competition.
Learning to embrace the spirit of “speaking with skills”
Also an awardee of the Medallion for Excellence in Welding in the WorldSkills Competition is Mr LAM Man-chun, who says that welding is a demanding job, but he enjoys it because he likes to finish every joint beautifully. Besides, he has benefited a lot from the thoughtful nurturing and guidance of his master, who teach him to “work more and speak less”, instilling in him the spirit of “speaking with skills”. Therefore, he says that the industry can encourage more young people to join the industry by showcasing the value of craftsmanship.
After listening to the above introduction and sharing, I believe you all feel that the construction industry is an industry with a bright future. We will continue to showcase the achievements of the industry and its great prospects to young people, outlining a clear progression path through the promotion campaign. I hope that more young people will join the construction industry to show their talents.
27 November, 2022Back