With a number of mega infrastructure projects upcoming in Hong Kong, the construction industry is entering another golden era, providing job opportunities and a bright future for young people joining the sector. The Government and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) will continue to strengthen manpower training and subsidize the industry to harness innovative technologies, enabling young people to unleash their potential. Here I have invited colleagues from the Works Branch of the Development Bureau (DEVB) to brief us on the work of the Government and the CIC in strengthening the industry’s training and enhancing its professional image. Two young trainees will also share their views on the prospects of the industry.
Mrs WONG HO Wing-sze, Susanne, Principal Assistant Secretary (Works) of the DEVB, says that the construction industry is a major engine for economic and social development in Hong Kong. The Government will be implementing mega infrastructure projects including the Northern Metropolis and Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands etc. which will forge a future for Hong Kong. We hope that more young people will join the industry to build their careers.
Multi-pronged approach to address future manpower demand
With a huge demand for talents in the construction industry of Hong Kong, the DEVB will continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach to address the future manpower needs. First – we strengthen training. Second – we encourage, through subsidizing, the industry to adopt more innovative technologies to enhance productivity and site safety. Third – we enhance the existing labour importation measures for the construction sector to supplement the manpower supply in the short run, while stepping up our promotion efforts so that the community and our young people will know more about the industry.
More higher diploma and degree places
To specifically address the demand for professionals and technical personnel, DEVB works with tertiary institutions and vocational training organisations to provide more higher diploma places. Mr YEUNG Shiu-wing, Chris, Assistant Secretary (Works Policies) of DEVB, says that higher diploma places for technical personnel are expected to increase by 30 percent. Moreover, this year, DEVB has implemented a two-year pilot scheme with $100 million funding to provide on-the-job allowance for students of part-time construction degree courses, encouraging young higher diploma holders to study further for a degree so as to enhance upward mobility.
Funding to double training places to 10 000 – And turnout exceeding this target
In addition, the Government further allocated $1 billion to the CIC last year to increase the training places for skilled workers over the coming six years, almost doubling the total number from about 6 000 to 10 000 per year. In the 2022-23 academic year, 14 000 students have been recruited, far exceeding the target.
The labour sector and their unions play a very important role in the training. Under their collaboration with CIC, training programmes have been conducted for training thousands of workers just last year. Also, the labour unions work upfront to help recruit newcomers to the industry and, in line with Government’s policy, encourage in-service workers to receive more training related to occupational safety and technologies so as to keep pace with the industry development.
Mr CHENG Ting-ning, Albert, Executive Director of CIC, says that, with support by DEVB, the Hong Kong Institute of Construction (HKIC) of CIC has actively incorporated elements of innovative technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), and Multi-trade Integrated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MiMEP) etc. into their courses for nurturing talents to become knowledge-based and tech-savvy practitioners. Their courses are free and the trainees could also receive additional subsidies. During the training, the HKIC provides employer-matching service to students and offers lifelong career support.
Female trainee determined to become a surveyor
HKIC trainee Miss LEUNG Ka-yin, Grace, says that being interested in the subject and knowing through a friend that the HKIC’s Quantity Surveying programme has quite a number of female trainees, she enrolled in the course. At HKIC, not only can she acquire professional knowledge, she can also gain working experience and strengthen her communication skills through internship. Determined to become a surveyor, she has full confidence in the industry prospects and encourages other females to join in as well.
Changing career path – taking a construction diploma course
Attracted to construction courses which offer recognised and professional qualifications, Mr CHAN Chun-ting, Ivan, originally a student of Associate Degree Programme in Communication, decided to change his career path and take the Diploma in Construction (Plumbing) course at HKIC. He says that the internship programme gives students opportunities to work and learn in different construction companies, giving them an edge in the job market later and enhancing their employment prospects. After gaining awards at the Hong Kong Construction Skills Competition recently, he is now getting prepared to represent Hong Kong in the World Skills Competition next year and will make good use of this learning opportunity. Given the wide horizons for development in the industry, he encourages young people to join in and unleash their potential.
Construction industry – Close to the market, hearts and minds, and the ground
To attract more young people to join the construction sector, the Government and the industry are working hand in hand to strengthen promotion. Mr FUNG Chun-kong, Assistant Secretary (Policy & Development) of DEVB, says that the construction industry currently has “three strengths” – close to the business and development market; young people’s hearts and minds; and the ground, and is suitable for young people to pursue a career in. “Close to the market” means, counting public and private works, the annual construction volume of the construction industry was about $250 billion last year and will rise to about $300 billion per year as various construction projects start to roll out, providing ample development opportunities and brilliant prospects for young people. As for “Close to young people’s hearts and minds”, it means the Government established the Construction Innovation and Technology Fund (CITF) in 2018, with a total of $2.2 billion so far, subsidising the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Currently, many small and medium enterprises are actively adopting innovative technologies to improve their working environment, much fitting the passion of young people in exploring innovation and using technologies to enhance work efficiency. “Close to the ground” refers to an industry-wide publicity campaign being launched in Hong Kong, including posting promotional videos in the mass and social media, displaying billboards and setting up street counters in areas with higher pedestrian flow. We also plan to set up a STEAM PORTAL by the end of this year to provide construction-related learning materials to primary and secondary schools.
With the joint efforts of the sector, the Government and CIC over the years, the construction industry now offers good remunerations and bright prospects. We hope young people will feel that they could forge the future living for Hong Kong people. We also encourage more of the younger generation to join as construction talents to build dreams and a professional career in the industry together. Let’s join hands to build Hong Kong and our future – “Design for Future, Build for Life”.
20 August, 2023Back