Last week, I introduced the work of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) in promoting innovation and technology. This time, I would like to take you further inside the EMSD headquarters building to visit its Training Workshop and chat with the young trainees about their daily classroom studies and how they have been gearing up for the WorldSkills Competition. The Technician Training Scheme (previously known as the Apprentice Training Scheme) run by the EMSD has more than 60 years of history. With the recent release of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination results, our fresh graduates may consider enrolling in one of those electrical and mechanical (E&M) or construction -related courses to acquire the skills for a bright career path ahead.
Gearing up for the WorldSkills Competition
On the day of my visit, I listened to a number of technician trainees sharing their experiences. Some of them were preparing for the WorldSkills Hong Kong Competition, aspiring to be selected to represent the city to compete with and learn from young technicians from around the world at the forthcoming international event hailed as the “Skills Olympics” in Kazan, Russia. I learned that the EMSD has specially set aside a site at its headquarters for training and mock races, aided by a team of instructors. A senior male trainee, who took part and won an award in the WorldSkills Competition last year, has now become an “assistant trainer” and helps with the training by sharing his techniques and experience gained in the competition. The Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, Mr SIT Wing-hang, Alfred, and I both actively encourage young people to go beyond Hong Kong and broaden their horizons, and to improve and enhance their skill levels through participation in competitions, exchanges and learning from others.
Individual trainees remarked that, after several years of classroom and practical training in the EMSD, they have obtained a diverse range of E&M knowledge. I could also feel the strong bond between trainees and instructors. In a male-dominated class, female trainees could still show their abilities and were well equipped with knowledge when introducing the E&M equipment. Under the instruction of the trainees, I tried welding with a virtual reality welding simulator, and appreciated that the training equipment the EMSD provides to the trainees is fairly advanced, constantly updated with new technologies that help enhance the professional and vocational skills of trainees.
Recruiting more than 200 trainees annually
According to Senior Engineer of the EMSD, Mr KWAN Kar-mun, Andy, who is responsible for training the trainees, the EMSD launched the Apprentice Training Scheme in 1955 with the aim of providing technical theory learning and internship opportunities for young people with junior secondary or secondary education interested in joining the technical industry. Owing to the lack of formal E&M training back then, the then Electrical and Mechanical Office (now the EMSD) under the Public Works Department, together with the Kowloon-Canton Railway and the Water Supplies Office, organised the first Government Apprentice Training Scheme, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. So far, more than 6 000 technicians have been trained under the scheme. In recent years, the number of trainees recruited each year has increased to over 200, with this year’s target set at about 260. After completing the training scheme, they may join the EMSD or choose to work in the private sector, which also offers a bright career path.
In 2012, the “Apprentice Training Scheme” was renamed “Technician Training Scheme” by the EMSD. Also, “Craft Apprentice” and “Technician Apprentice” were renamed “Technician Trainee II” and “Technician Trainee I” to better reflect the career path offered by the training scheme. The training scheme lasts for three to four years. Trainees will be deployed to different frontline service units such as hospitals, the airport, swimming pools, sports venues, etc., and will receive practical training in various disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, vehicle, air-conditioning, electronics or building services. They will learn a wide range of crafts and skills essential to technicians under experienced instructors.
Furthermore, the trainees will be sent to the Vocational Training Council to study relevant certificate/diploma/high diploma courses to enhance their knowledge of technical theories, so that they will be fully equipped with both theoretical knowledge and technical skills. I know that many trainees, through continuous education and accumulation of work experience, have been gradually promoted to the management level and serve the public in different capacities. Hong Kong is full of opportunities. If young people, with their drive and potential, never stop equipping themselves and broadening their horizons and skills, I believe they can definitely carve out a niche for themselves.
22 July, 2018Back