The construction industry is an important driving force behind Hong Kong’s economic and social development. With a view to attracting more new blood to the industry, the Government has been collaborating with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) as well as the industry in providing diversified and systematic training, to help young people with their career ladder, and facilitate the passing down of skills and craftsmanship. The CIC organised the “Construction Industry Outstanding Young Person Award” (CIOYPA) again this year to commend and honour the outstanding young practitioners in the industry, and encourage them to strive for excellence and continuous improvement. This time, I have invited two of the young awardees to tell us their stories.
Following his father into the construction industry
The first young person I would like to introduce is Mr CHUNG Chi-wai, Leo, Assistant Electrical Inspector of the Drainage Services Department (DSD). Given his unsatisfactory results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, he enrolled for construction courses with encouragement from his father working in the DSD, hoping to learn a trade. As it turned out, he developed an interest in it, completing a series of programmes such as the craft courses of the Hong Kong Institute of Construction, as well as the Apprenticeship Training Scheme and Higher Diploma in Electrical Engineering offered by the Vocational Training Council. Afterwards, he managed to join the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department as a technician, and was by coincidence seconded to the DSD. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became a member of the DSD’s big family.
Leading a team to boost efficiency of a solar farm
Leo is now leading a team to manage the solar farm at Siu Ho Wan Sewage Treatment Works. Comprising over 4 200 photovoltaic panels, the solar farm is currently the largest solar photovoltaic system at government facilities in Hong Kong. In the process of setting up the solar farm, Leo put forward a number of viable suggestions concerning operation and maintenance, to enhance its usability. He also took part in various projects to further increase the construction efficiency, safety and stability of the solar farm. According to him, he takes great satisfaction from his work.
Willing to try and winning the prize
Young people are willing to try and take on challenges, and Leo is no exception. He likes to think out of the box in devising and applying construction plans, advocating innovative technology as a way to boost work efficiency. For instance, he introduced renewable energy into different aspects of work, by suggesting the installation of solar panels on fuel cell vehicles to generate electricity for walkie-talkies and essential equipment, as well as the use of environmentally-friendly smart lampposts, etc. at sewage treatment facilities. These two suggestions have won him awards, including that from the Staff Suggestions Scheme.
Principal Field Art Director of a theme park
Another Outstanding Young Person is Ms MA Ho-yee, Jillian, Principal Theme Paint Field Art Director of Walt Disney Imagineering Asia Limited. A graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, she has expertise in decorative painting and creative art projects. She entered the construction industry regardless of its tough nature, fusing architecture with art in the construction of theme park facilities. She specialises in theme painting, which is to use layers and layers of coloured paint, as in the art of painting, to create a three-dimensional appearance for artworks such as fake hills, rocks and wood; so that the joyful world of fairy tales can come alive for visitors.
Inspiring the integration of architecture with art
Apart from designing colour schemes for buildings or facilities and vetting and approving samples, Jillian’s main duty is to guide contractors how to work on site and facilitate co-operation among painters and workers in work processes such as fabrication, assembly and painting to ensure quality that can meet the requirements. It is not unusual to see her rolling up her sleeves to apply paint to facilities in the park. Though the work is hard, she says she enjoys working as a team very much. After an artwork is complete, she gets a strong sense of satisfaction when passers-by speak highly of it or take pictures, and it makes her very happy. The makeovers she has given various theme parks have earned her the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Theme Park from Themed Entertainment Association.
Teaching a master class to pass the baton to the next generation
Early this year, at the invitation of the Hong Kong Institute of Construction, Jillian held a master class to teach industry practitioners theme painting skills such as washing, highlighting and glazing. She explained the complicated procedures in a simple and step-by-step approach. She says that she hopes to stimulate practitioners’ boundless imagination in the construction industry, and help them see the great development potential in the industry. Many young people who have enrolled in courses on qualifications required for Senior Tradesmen or Intermediate Tradesmen have told her that they would like to take part in large-scale creation with more artistic elements. Jillian encourages them to grasp the opportunities provided by the construction industry so that they can develop in this direction.
Encouraging young people through their own experience
The five awardees of the CIOYPA have all displayed their extraordinary capabilities. Leo, having worked from the bottom level, hopes to use his own experience to encourage young people not to give up. He says that young people should first identify their career interests and keep equipping themselves. Sooner or later they will have the opportunities to unleash their potential. In his spare time, Leo is very active in various public activities such as voluntary work and music performances with his band. By interacting more with the public, he hopes to enhance the image of frontline construction workers and attract more young people to join the industry.
Construction industry also suitable for women in pursuit of a career
Through her own experience, Jillian also hopes to help young people understand that with the spirit of perseverance, “going the extra mile” and “being modest enough to consult others”, they can eventually go far in their career. Besides sharing with us that she has had some work-related injuries when first joining the industry, Jillian says that although her line of work receives less attention than others and has few female practitioners, the construction industry is actually very suitable for women in pursuit of a career, as women can make good use of their communication skills, and have the characteristics of being observant, prudent, and tough and flexible at the same time.
As Leo’s and Jillian’s experience has shown, there are great opportunities in the construction industry for aspiring young people to pursue a career and contribute to society. I look forward to seeing more fresh blood in the construction industry. Please seize the development opportunities, lead the industry to move forward and make Hong Kong a better place to live in with your knowledge, skills and passion.
15 August, 2021Back