Government committed to enhancing construction manpower training (with photos)

The Government is committed to investing in infrastructure in order to lay a solid foundation for future development and raise the long-term competitiveness of Hong Kong.  Infrastructure development can help promote economic development and create employment opportunities, the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Wai Chi-sing said today (January 17). 

Speaking at the Construction Industry Council (CIC)'s Certificate Award Ceremony for the Enhanced Construction Manpower Training Scheme (ECMTS), Mr Wai said, "In anticipation of increasing demand for construction manpower in the coming years, we need to ensure the availability of sufficient construction personnel, and enhance the skills and competitiveness of in-service construction workers."  

He said that the Government's capital works expenditure has been on the rise in recent years.  It is estimated that expenditure will reach $49.6 billion in the 2010-11 financial year, providing 62,500 job opportunities.  Among them, about 6,600 are professional and technical staff and about 55,900 are workers.  Annual capital works expenditure is expected to reach an all-time high of over $50 billion in each of the next few years.

In addition, the Government has implemented a number of medium to small sized projects, such as the construction of the Ko Shan Theatre Annex Building, redevelopment of St Francis' Canossian College and the provision of interception facilities at Jordan Valley Box Culvert. Other such projects include slope and building maintenance, greening works, replacement and rehabilitation of water mains and improvement of sewage treatment facilities, providing a wide variety of job opportunities for construction workers of different skills. 

Addressing the ageing problem and skills mismatch in certain trades of the construction industry, Mr Wai said, "People are the most important asset of the industry.  Professional, skilled personnel play a significant role in providing high-quality infrastructures and buildings."  

He noted that in the past, construction workers seemed to have a lower social status than those working in offices or the service sector, and that young people were thus not keen on joining the industry.  However, the situation is changing in the local construction sector.  Those aspiring to join the industry now have to undergo training and trade testing to obtain the required qualifications.  There are also good training and promotion prospects in the industry.  Workers now enjoy better salary and remuneration packages, and safer working conditions at construction sites. 

Mr Wai encouraged construction personnel to become multi-skilled through continual learning, so as to be flexible and able to take up work of a diverse nature.

The Development Bureau received a one-off funding of $100 million from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council last year to attract more people to join the construction industry and to enhance the skills and competitiveness of in-service construction personnel.  Not less than $80 million will be allocated to CIC for the training of new recruits and in-service personnel. Initiatives implemented by the CIC include ECMTS, an advanced training course for senior construction workers, enhanced construction supervisor/technician training, subsidised trade tests, specified training courses and skills enhancement courses. 

The first phase of ECMTS, which was rolled out in September last year, covered the four trades of bar bender and fixer, carpenter and aluminium formwork worker, metal formwork erector and concretor, and drainlayer.  Trainees enrolling in full-time adult short courses for these selected trades can receive a monthly allowance of about $5,000 during the training period. The first batch of 44 trainees in bar bending and fixing, metal formwork and concreting trades graduated today. 

The second phase of ECMTS was launched earlier this month.  In addition to the four trades covered in the first phase, site surveyors, levellers, and metal workers are also included.

Also attending the Certificate Award Ceremony today were Chairman of the Construction Industry Training Board, Mr Billy Wong, and Director (Training) of the CIC, Mr Charles Wong.

Ends/Monday, January 17, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:45


Mr Lau Chi-hung (right) and Mr Lee Ka-shun, trainees on the bar bender and fixer course, are optimistic about job prospect in the trade.  Trainees of the course on carpentry and aluminium formwork, Mr Yau Kwok-man (right) and Mr Vong Peng-vai, said the trade offers lots of job opportunities with the ongoing developments in the construction industry.  The Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Wai Chi-sing, delivers a speech at the Construction Industry Council's Certificate Award Ceremony for the Enhanced Construction Manpower Training Scheme, today (January 17).   The Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Wai Chi-sing (left), presents a plaque to an outstanding graduate of the course for metal formwork erector and concrete, Mr Chan Ho-lap.