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
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 Report of the Task Force on Promotion of Vocational Education.pdf and The Report of the Task Force on Promotion of Vocational Education - Highlights.pdf 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 (For review, please go to https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsNQuY6XoSaCtLFy-bWu6rhm6z0JOaEEk). Also, EDB has produced five one-minute short TV drama which were broadcasted in late-June 2016. You may review the TV drama on the right hand column on this page. Another three 10-minute drama were uploaded to the EDB YouTube channel in February 2017 (For review, please go to https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsNQuY6XoSaDQnO8uXeRNMFdJoK7wUZZu).
Pilot Training and Support Scheme
With 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 December 2016, the electrical & mechanical trades of the construction industry, printing industry, clock & watch industry, automobile industry, testing & certification industry and medical centre operations industry have joined the PTSS with about 2 100 trainees.
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 has identified a site in Cha Kwo Ling for development of a VTC campus with adequate capacity and state-of-the-art facilities. Planning work is being carried out. The Government also supports the VTC in principle to construct the Aircraft and Marine Engineering Centre on the site of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tsing Yi).
Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors
In order to nurture talent to meet our social and economic needs, the Government has decided to regularise the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) from the 2018/19 academic year to subsidise students to undertake designated self-financing undergraduate programmes in selected disciplines to nurture talent to meet Hong Kong’s social and economic needs. The number of subsidised places will be increased to 3 000 per cohort. Current students of the designated programmes will also receive the subsidy from the 2018/19 academic year. It is expected that about 13 000 students will benefit from the scheme each academic year. Details of the SSSDP are available at sssdp.
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.
Moreover, in response to the Task Force’s recommendation, EDB has been fully subsidising Applied Learning courses starting from the 2016/17 school year to enable senior secondary students to have a first touch of VPET.
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 Government has allocated $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 Pilot_Scheme_for_Subsidising_Students.pdf . The Pilot Scheme will not only facilitate upward mobility of learners, but also promote VPET in Hong Kong.
We encourage all students and parents to take a fresh look at VPET and consider it as a valued choice for articulation.
Last Review Date: 06/12/2017