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Budget Speech

Manpower Training

106.    In last year's Budget, I announced the allocation of $130 million to support the manpower development of the retail industry.  The series of measures are being rolled out.  The first programme for the Earn and Learn Pilot Scheme for the Retail Industry which is run by the Vocational Training Council in collaboration with the industry commenced last September, with the first cohort of student-trainees started coursework and on-the-job training in tandem.  The Hong Kong Productivity Council has also launched the Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme for Manpower Demand Management to assist the sector in enhancing productivity.  Preparation for the retail industry promotion campaign is under way to enhance the image of the industry with a view to attracting new blood.

107.    With our strenuous efforts to promote the professional image and promising career prospects of the construction industry in recent years, more young people are willing to join the industry.  Over the past five years, I have allocated a total of $320 million to the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to train local workers through the provision of training allowances and on-site experience.  This year, I shall provide another $100 million for the CIC to train up more skilled workers to meet the acute manpower demand of the industry.

108.    The financial services industry has a keen demand for quality personnel.  Last year, I requested the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) to consult the industry on manpower training needs.  There was broad consensus that manpower shortage was particularly acute in the insurance and the asset and wealth management sectors.  They also suggested that Government could help promote the industry, enhance the professional competence of practitioners and, in particular, train up more talent for middle and back offices.

109.    I shall allocate $100 million to launch a three-year pilot scheme for insurance and asset and wealth management services.  Under the scheme, Government will collaborate with the industry to organise activities and provide internship opportunities to allow the community, in particular students, to have a better understanding of the nature and career prospects of different jobs in the two sectors.  Government and industry will also enhance the contents of continuing professional development programmes, and provide financial support to encourage practitioners to enrol in these programmes.  FSTB is drawing up details of the pilot scheme.

110.    From the 2015/16 academic year onwards, Government will subsidise on a pilot basis 1 000 students per cohort to pursue designated self-financing undergraduate programmes for meeting the manpower needs of Hong Kong.  For the first cohort, there will be 13 programmes, covering health care, architecture and engineering, testing and certification, creative industry, logistics, as well as tourism and hospitality.  This scheme will cost $960 million.

111.    We shall open up more internship and exchange opportunities for young people to experience the taste of work, broaden their exposure, and be prepared for entering the job market.

112.    We plan to increase the short-term internship places provided by government departments for 2015-16 to 3 000, an increase of 30 per cent over the last financial year, so that more young people will have a deeper understanding of different areas of work in Government.  This measure will cost $21 million.

113.    Last year, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore started to arrange internships in ASEAN countries to broaden the international horizons of university students of Hong Kong and enhance their understanding of ASEAN countries.  The inaugural round of the scheme saw 90 students taking up internships.  A total of 250 internship places will be available in 2015-16.

114.    I shall also allocate an additional $205 million in the next three years to support more young people to participate in Mainland exchange and internship programmes.



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