Policy Initiatives related to Vocational and Professional Education and Training

Vocational education prepares people for future employment by equipping them with professional knowledge, practical skills and appropriate attitude.  It also plays a pivotal role in integrating education and employment as well as nurturing the requisite human capital in support of Hong Kong’s development.  Despite the merits of vocational education, there is an entrenched bias among some towards traditional academic pursuit with the perception of vocational education leading to relatively lower qualifications. 


Task Force on Promotion of Vocational Education
task force pic1 Given the entrenched bias among some towards traditional academic pursuits, the Task Force on Promotion of Vocational Education (Task Force) was set up in June 2014 with a view to stepping up efforts in promoting vocational education in Hong Kong, by mapping out a strategy and concrete recommendations to raise the public awareness towards vocational education and recognition of its value. 


In July 2015, the Task Force submitted its report to the Secretary for Education.  The Task Force’s report and its highlights could be downloaded at http://www.cspe.edu.hk/taskforce/tf/eng/tf.html and http://www.cspe.edu.hk/GetFile.aspx?databaseimageid=6073-0  respectively.


The Chief Executive announced in the 2016 Policy Address that the Government accepted all the Task Force’s recommendations. The Education Bureau (EDB) is actively following up with the implementation of the recommendations, the major progress is set out below.


Rebranding Vocational Education and Training

As recommended by the Task Force, vocational education and training (VET) has now been rebranded as vocational and professional education and training (VPET) covering programmes up to degree level with a high percentage of curriculum consisting of specialised contents in vocational skills or professional knowledge. VPET is a valued choice of articulation and further studies as it equips youngsters with professional knowledge, practical skills and appropriate attitude for their effective performance in the wide-ranging VPET-related professions/industries.


Promotion of Professional Image of VPET

EDB has produced and launched three Announcement in Public Interests (APIs) in the first quarter of 2016 to promote the professional image of VPET.  Also, EDB has produced five one-minute short TV drama which were broadcasted in late-June 2016.  You may review the APIs at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsNQuY6XoSaCtLFy-bWu6rhm6z0JOaEEk and the TV drama on the right hand column on this page.


Pilot Training and Support Scheme 

task force pic 2With funding support from the Government, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) has implemented the Pilot Training and Support Scheme (PTSS) starting from the 2014/15 academic year which aims to integrate structured apprenticeship training programmes and clear career progression pathways to attract and retain talent for specific industries with a keen demand for labour.  The PTSS targets Secondary 3 to Secondary 6 school leavers and eligible adult learners.  Under the PTSS, apprenticeship training for targeted industries will be provided to students alongside a guaranteed level of salary and incentive allowance.  

In its report in July 2015, the Task Force recommended to extend the PTSS to benefit more students pending a review.  According to a review conducted by VTC in 2015, the PTSS in general is well received by the participating employers and students.  Therefore, the Government has already extended the PTSS for two more cohorts of students to be admitted in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 academic years.  After extension of PTSS, the total commitment is $288 million and it is expected to benefit 4 000 students of four cohorts in total.  As at June 2016, the electrical & mechanical trades of the construction industry, printing industry, clock & watch industry, automobile industry and testing & certification industry have joined the PTSS with about 1 100 trainees. 

Industrial Attachment 
With the evidence that industrial attachment could provide a real-life organisational context for students to develop specific or generic skills and effectively enhance their employability after graduation, starting from the 2014/15 academic year, the Government has allocated recurrent funding of about $18 million to VTC to provide industrial attachment opportunities for about 9 000 students every year mainly studying subvented higher diploma programmes and certain Diploma in Vocational Education programmes.

In light of the above, the Task Force recommended the Government to extend the industrial attachment initiative to benefit students pursuing full-time locally accredited self-financing sub-degree and undergraduate programmes where applicable.  In response to the recommendation, the Self-financing Post-secondary Education Fund launched a new category under its Quality Enhancement Support Scheme for a pilot period of two years to support IA projects that aim to increase students' employability by sourcing more internship opportunities for post-secondary students or enhancing relevant institutional support for students.

Campus Development Plan of VTC
In 2014, VTC has been invited to draw up a strategic development plan for its campuses to foster synergy and provide state-of-the-art facilities pivotal to enhancing the image and quality of vocational education.  VTC submitted its master campus plan to the Government in late August 2015.  After consideration of the submitted plan, the Government plans to earmark a site in the urban area for VTC to develop a state-of-the-art campus.  

Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors 
The Government launched the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) in the 2015/16 academic year with a commitment of $960 million for subsidising about 1 000 students per cohort to pursue designated full-time locally-accredited self-financing undergraduate programmes in selected disciplines to nurture talent to meet Hong Kong’s social and economic needs.  The Scheme is on a pilot run of three cohorts.  Details of the Subsidy Scheme are available at http://www.cspe.edu.hk/sssdp/EN/index.asp.   In accordance with the recommendation of the Task Force, the Scheme is being reviewed for considering its way forward.

Career and Life Planning

Following the relevant recommendation of the Task Force, EDB has been encouraging secondary schools to adopt a whole school approach in career and life planning education and to enhance individual guidance and support to students to facilitate self-understanding and exploration of multiple pathways including VPET.  


Applied Learning

task force pic 3
 
Moreover, in response to the Task Force’s recommendation, EDB will be fully subsidising Applied Learning courses starting from the 2016/17 school year to enable senior secondary students to have a first touch of VPET.


Perception Survey

EDB has completed a benchmark perception survey in January 2016.  The Bureau plans to conduct a series of perception survey with a view to keeping track of any changes in the public’s attitude towards VPET.  


Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes

Apart from the above, the Financial Secretary has announced in his Budget Speech in 2016 that the Government will allocate $200 million for VTC to implement the Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes starting from the 2016/17 academic year.  Tuition fee subsidy will be provided for students admitted to designated professional part-time programmes offered by VTC, covering programmes in the disciplines of construction, engineering and technology.  The Pilot Scheme will benefit three cohorts of around 5 600 students in total.  Successful applicants will be refunded 60% of the tuition fees of eligible programmes, subject to a maximum of $45,000 per person.  Details can be found at http://www.vtc.edu.hk/admission/f/upload/3050/Pilot_Scheme_for_Subsidising_Students.pdf.  The Pilot Scheme will not only facilitate upward mobility of learners, but also promote VPET in Hong Kong.


Conclusion
We encourage all students and parents to take a fresh look at VPET and consider it as a valued choice for articulation.

July 2016

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Last Review Date: 13/07/2016