Government and construction sector join hands to attract new blood into the industry (with photo)
Unemployment rate in the construction industry has further improved in the second quarter of 2010. In anticipation of a greater demand for skilled workers, the Government is working with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to attract new blood into the industry.
Speaking at a dinner to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union and Lo Pan Patron's Day today (July 23), the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, said unemployment rate in the construction sector dropped from the peak of 12.7% in the quarter ending April 2009 after the financial tsunami to 7.6% in the quarter ending June 2010. Unemployment rate in the decoration, repair and maintenance of buildings sub-sector dropped more dramatically from 21.6% to 8.7%, in the same period, while that of the foundation and superstructure sub-sector also decreased from 10.2% to 7.2%. Compared with end-2008, the average daily wages of many construction workers engaged in public sector construction projects as reported by the main contractors have increased.
"The Government is committed to creating more employment opportunities for the construction industry by pressing ahead with infrastructure development, and promoting building maintenance work through the Operation Building Bright which has received an additional funding of $500 million this year," Mrs Lam said.
"In anticipation of a greater demand for skilled workers to support these projects, we need to act now to ensure we have a steady and adequate supply of local labour," Mrs Lam said.
Mrs Lam said the Government's expenditure in capital works projects had increased significantly over the last few years, from $20.5 billion in 2007-08, to $23.4 billion in 2008-09 and reaching higher level at $45.3 billion last year and a projected $49.6 billion this financial year.
The Development Bureau will support the CIC to provide various training programmes and incentive schemes to attract fresh blood to the construction industry and to enhance the skills of the construction workforce.
The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved in May this year a one-off funding of $100 million to support the CIC's latest efforts to enhance training and trade testing for prospective new recruits and local in-service construction personnel, and to enhance promotion and publicity activities to attract more people to join the construction industry.
"Support from the construction sector and workers' union is indispensable to the success of these new initiatives. I appeal to all stakeholders to work together to nurture a quality workforce and ensure that local labour will benefit from the infrastructure projects," Mrs Lam said.
Ends/Friday, July 23, 2010
Issued at HKT 20:40