7th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s Construction Industry Council (CIC) and Employees Retraining Board (ERB) have been providing on-the-job training schemes on a “first-hire-then-train” basis. Dr. Ngan Man-yu, a Legislative Council member, recently asked the government to provide information regarding these schemes. In a written reply, Chris Sun, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, gave details about the schemes’ course content, nature, expenditure, staffing, and enrolment figures for the past three years.
According to the CIC, its “first-hire-then-train” courses involve hiring trainees to work on construction sites and providing them with campus and on-site training to acquire relevant skills and craftsmanship. The CIC has implemented over 50 trades under this scheme and provided courses such as the “Advanced Construction Manpower Training Scheme – Pilot Scheme (Structured On-the-job),” with a duration ranging from six months to two years. The ERB’s “First-Hire-Then-Train” Scheme aims to encourage women and homemakers to join the employment market, and participating employers provide on-the-job training and leave arrangements to cater to their family commitments. The ERB appointed training bodies to assist employers with recruitment and offer designated training courses for trainees to master relevant working skills and knowledge.
The enrolment and completion figures for the past three years show that more than 1,500 trainees joined the CIC’s scheme, with 32 to 196 trainees still undergoing a two-year training. The ERB’s scheme had 49 to 125 enrolled trainees, with 10% to 16% of trainees unable to complete the programme. The CIC’s expenditure on the scheme ranged from HKD 75 million to HKD 110 million, while the ERB’s operating expenses included the scheme, and the relevant breakdown was not available.
The CIC’s enrolment numbers have increased in the past three years, with 1,524 trainees enrolled in the first nine months of AY 2022/23, exceeding the total 1,033 trainees for AY 2021/22 by 48%. The government provided HKD 1 billion funding to the CIC last year to subsidise about 27,000 training places in the next six years. The CIC plans to introduce innovative technology elements into its training courses, including Building Information Modelling, Modular Integrated Construction, and robotics. The ERB reviews the effectiveness of its “First-Hire-Then-Train” Scheme with relevant stakeholders to attract more employers and job seekers to participate.