The 2018 Outstanding Apprentices Award Presentation Ceremony hosted by the Vocational Training Council (VTC) was held today (26 March) in recognition of the excellent performance of 16 apprentices. They were encouraged to enter industries with a keen demand for manpower to flex their professional knowledge and skills. One of the awardees is a technician apprentice whose family of three generations have pursued a career in the automotive engineering industry. Another is the first ever female apprentice engaged by the Water Supplies Department. Yet another is a craft apprentice who overcame his acrophobia to chase down his dream of becoming an aircraft maintenance engineer.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour of the Presentation Ceremony, Under Secretary for Education Dr CHOI Yuk-lin of the Education Bureau said systematic apprentice training developed talent for industries with a keen demand for manpower and helped aspiring young people to grasp the requisite professional knowledge and practical experience to pursue a career in industry. Countries like Germany and the UK have in place apprentice systems tailored for different industries to drive development.
Chairman of the VTC Apprenticeship Training Board Edmond LAI noted that following regularisation of the VTC Earn & Learn Scheme, the Pilot Incentive Scheme to Employers will be rolled out this year. To further enhance the professional skills of trainees and hone their work preparedness, the Pilot Incentive Scheme to Employers will be instrumental in attracting more young people to take up apprenticeships. He further pointed out that with development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, demand for professional talent will be driven up in different industries and the demand for apprenticeship training will surely increase.
The awarded apprentices come from different specialisms, like aircraft engineering and maintenance, building services engineering, railroad transportation, and automotive engineering. One of them, TONG Tsz-fung, has a family tradition of working in the automotive engineering industry from his grandfather’s time. Tsz-fung completed the Higher Diploma in Automotive Engineering of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) and then joined the heavy duty automaker Scania (Hong Kong) Limited as a technician apprentice. He was subsequently promoted to be a technician. Tsz-fung’s grandfather opened a factory to manufacture cargo compartments and his father worked on auto maintenance. Tsz-fung took to automotive engineering quite naturally from an early age.
In particular, he was drawn to maintenance work on heavy duty vehicles as he found them challenging. “You just need to take the tyres of these vehicles as an example. Their height equals half of a human body and tyre replacement is no easy task. What’s more, there are stringent requirements on the efficiency of maintenance work on heavy commercial vehicles. The skills required are all the more advanced,” noted Tsz-fung. Looking ahead, he will accumulate industry experience and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at a later stage, on track to his career goal to be an engineer.
Meanwhile the first ever female Craft Apprentice (Waterworks) engaged by the Water Supplies Department, KAO Fuk-yee, is frank about having a smaller physique compared with men when she talks about the physical demands of maintenance work. To increase her stamina, Fuk-yee has resolved to work out every week. Already promoted to Artisan (Civil) in the Water Supplies Department, she has worked in different departments as an apprentice and acquired knowledge of water filter and quality inspection processes, seepage diagnosis, and handling a fresh water mains burst. “Females are more observant and better in communication, which helps in performing mains diagnosis duties and talking to flat occupants,” said Fuk-yee. She is currently studying the part-time IVE Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering and hopes to be promoted to works supervisor and Inspector of Works Trainee.
Another awardee, Tommy WONG, is an IVE graduate of the Higher Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. To pursue his dream career as a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer, he beat his acrophobia by persistently carrying out maintenance work at height to equip himself for meeting the workplace demands of aircraft engineering and maintenance. He is now preparing for the examination for the Aircraft Maintenance Licence and plans to pursue a related degree programme in the future, paving the way to being a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer.
This year a total of 242 registered apprentices were nominated by employers for the Outstanding Apprentices Award Scheme, of whom 34 were shortlisted for the final interview round. Eventually the judging panel handpicked 12 apprentices to be awarded the Outstanding Apprentices Awards and four to be awarded Sir Edward Youde Memorial Outstanding Apprentice Awards. Winning apprentices come from different professional sectors like aircraft engineering and maintenance, building services engineering, railroad transportation and automotive engineering. Some are trainees of the VTC Earn & Learn Scheme.
Early this month, a study and exchange tour to Dubai and Abu Dhabi was arranged for the awarded apprentices. There they visited schools and enterprises and were apprised of the local development in renewable energy, technology and tourism.
Established in 1982, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) is the largest vocational and professional education and training provider in Hong Kong. The mission of VTC is to provide a valued choice to school leavers and working people to acquire the values, knowledge and skills for lifelong learning and enhanced employability, and also to provide support to industries for their manpower development. VTC has 13 member institutions, namely the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) , the Institute of Professional Education And Knowledge (PEAK) , the School for Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE), the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) , the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) , the Hotel and Tourism Institute (HTI) , the Chinese Culinary Institute (CCI) , the International Culinary Institute (ICI) , the Maritime Services Training Institute (MSTI) , Youth College , Pro-Act by VTC , the Integrated Vocational Development Centre (IVDC) and the Shine Skills Centre.
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Annex: List of 2018 Outstanding Apprentices Awardees
||Building Services Technician Apprentice with Shui On Construction Co. Ltd.
||Construction Technician Apprentice with Hip Hing Construction Co. Ltd.
||Construction Technician with China State Construction Engineering (HK) Ltd.
||Vehicle Technician with Scania (Hong Kong) Limited
||Artisan (Civil) with Water Supplies Department
||Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic Apprentice with Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited
||Permanent Way Mechanic with the MTR Corporation Limited
||Building Services Technician Apprentice with Sin Fung Engineering Company Limited
||Technician (Electronic) Apprentice with Electrical and Mechanical Services Department
||Electrician Apprentice with Hongkong International Terminals Limited
||Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Mechanic with The Jardine Engineering Corporation Ltd.
||Vehicle Painter with Dah Chong Hong (M.S.C.) Ltd.
||Construction Technician with Sun Fook Kong Construction Management Ltd.
||Building Services Technician with BYME Engineering (Hong Kong) Limited
||Electrical Fitter with The Hongkong Electric Co.Ltd.
||Gas Utilisation Fitter with The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited
* Recipients of Sir Edward Youde Memorial Outstanding Apprentice Awards