The Government has been implementing public works projects in an orderly manner to improve people's quality of living, enhance Hong Kong's long-term competitiveness and promote economic development. The Development Bureau (DEVB) established the Centre of Excellence for Major Project Leaders (CoE) earlier to offer a high-level leadership development programme to senior public officers with a view to enhancing the overall performance of public works projects. This time, I have invited the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) (PSW), Mr LAM Sai-hung, to introduce the purpose and details of setting up the CoE.
Substantial workload with challenges ahead
In the next few years, the Government’s annual capital works expenditure is expected to rise to over $100 billion and the annual total construction output will increase to over $300 billion, covering the construction of public and private housing, implementation of hospital development and redevelopment projects, development and expansion of new towns and new development areas, etc. In addition to this substantial workload, we are also facing the challenges of high construction costs and an ageing construction workforce.
To this end, we need to formulate and promote relevant strategies to uplift the construction industry’s delivery capacity and improve the overall productivity, such as promoting digitisation of the supervision system to enhance the standard and efficiency of public works supervision, and upgrading the DEVB’s Project Cost Management Office as the Project Strategy and Governance Office for implementing strategic initiatives and enhancing capabilities in cost surveillance and project governance. Moreover, there have been rising aspirations from the general public for better performance of public works projects in recent years. Therefore, we geared up for the establishment of the CoE last year to equip public officers with more innovative minds and up-to-date leadership competencies for delivering public works projects.
Nurturing leaders to shape Hong Kong’s future
Two weeks ago (i.e. 22 July), the CoE was formally established. The inauguration ceremony was officiated by the Financial Secretary (FS) and the Honorary President of the CoE, Mr CHAN Mo-po, Paul, together with the Secretary for Development and the Chairman of the CoE, Mr WONG Wai-lun, Michael. At the ceremony, Mr Michael WONG pointed out that Hong Kong’s satisfactory performances in a number of public works projects have made Hong Kong people proud. The establishment of the CoE is one of the measures that the Government has taken to make us do even better in this area. The FS, Mr Paul CHAN, said in his speech that the CoE represents the Government’s huge investment in human capital for the future. It is hoped that the CoE will nurture leaders for Hong Kong’s future works projects.
Cornerstone for promoting professionalisation in the construction industry
According to the PSW, Mr LAM Sai-hung, in order to cope with the huge demand for housing, land, healthcare services and community infrastructure development, the Government put forward “Construction 2.0” in last year’s Policy Agenda to lead the construction industry to make changes, advocating “Innovation”, “Professionalisation” and “Revitalisation” to uplift the industry’s overall performance, including measures to improve its productivity, quality, site safety and environmental performance. The establishment of the CoE is a cornerstone for promoting professionalisation in our construction industry. We aim to enhance the leadership capability and professional proficiency of colleagues in charge of public works projects, so as to achieve better performance in major projects.
As the first institution that specialises in the nurturing leaders for major works projects in Asia, the CoE will, through collaboration between the Government and the world-renowned University of Oxford, offer a Major Projects Leadership Programme starting from August this year. The programme targets to provide structured, continuous and contemporary high-level leadership professional training in the coming three years for about 150 project leaders, i.e., government directorate officials in charge of public works projects and senior leaders of the industry. The first two cohorts of our civil service colleagues (25 in each batch) will receive training in the University of Oxford in mid-August and September respectively.
Capital works projects are a huge investment in our future. We have to ensure our public resources will be used smartly and effectively to meet the expectations of both the Government and the public. Here, let’s hope that all major project leaders will take Hong Kong’s construction industry to new heights upon graduation.
4 August, 2019Back