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LCQ11: Training providers promoting unrelated activities

    Following is a question by the Hon Ma Lik and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 7):


     It has been reported that some trainees of the Youth Pre-employment Training Programme have complained that the staff of the relevant training providers had requested them to join the march held on 1 May this year.  Regarding the non-government organisations which run public-funded training and re-training courses, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has received any complaints of this kind lodged by the trainees over the past three years; if it has, of the details of the complaints; and

(b) of the measures to ensure that training providers will not seize the opportunity to promote activities which are irrelevant to the training or re-training courses, and whether it will take into consideration the training providers' past performance in this respect when selecting training providers?


Madam President,

(a) The publicly-funded training and retraining programmes currently run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) mainly include the various training and re-training courses under the Employees Retraining Scheme, the Skills Upgrading Scheme (SUS) coordinated by the Education and Manpower Bureau, the Youth Pre-employment Training Programme (YPTP) and the Youth Work Experience and Training Scheme (YWETS) organised by the Labour Department (LD), as well as the Intensive Employment Assistance Projects (IEAPs) launched by the Social Welfare Department (SWD).  During the past three years, the Administration has not received any complaints from trainees of the above-mentioned courses about training providers requesting them to take part in activities that were unrelated to training.

(b) To ensure that its training courses will not be used to achieve other purposes, the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) has specified, in the guidelines issued to training providers, that such terms as "Employees Retraining Scheme" and "Employees Retraining Courses" should not be used in organising or co-organising any political activity or social campaign.  In selecting training providers, the ERB will consider a number of factors including the mission of the training provider, its experience and track record in providing training courses, as well as its administrative and management systems.  If a training provider is found to have asked its trainees to participate in activities unrelated to retraining, the ERB will seriously consider whether or not the provider concerned should be disallowed to provide retraining courses.

     As for the SUS, the Secretariat of the Scheme has stipulated in the administrative guidelines and tender documents issued to the training providers that they are not allowed to promote or publicise any activities that are unrelated to the SUS courses; and that any publicity activities to be launched by them must have the prior approval of the Secretariat.  The training provider's past performance and the trainees' feedback would be taken into account in selecting training providers.

     Each year, LD conducts tender exercises to select suitable training providers to run courses under the YPTP and the YWETS.  The selection is conducted in accordance with the established procedures and criteria.  In doing so, LD will take into account the experience and track records of the training providers and examine the quality of their courses.  LD would not agree to training providers arranging their trainees to participate, involuntarily, in activities that are completely unrelated to training.  Training providers who fail to deliver services to trainees as required by the Schemes may be warned or disqualified from future provision of the services.

     SWD commissions NGOs to run the various programmes under the IEAPs, including job-matching services, skills training and employment counseling.  The purpose is to assist the unemployed recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) to overcome employment barriers and help them rejoin the workforce.  Proposals submitted will be vetted by a Project Vetting Committee comprising representatives from the funding agents, SWD and other government departments.  In selecting service providers, the Committee will consider whether the goals and objectives of the proposals submitted are in line with those of IEAPs, as well as the providers' experience and track records in offering employment assistance services.  SWD would not agree to service providers arranging IEAPs participants to take part in activities that are unrelated to employment assistance.  Any violation of the terms of the service agreement signed between the service provider and SWD may result in termination of the service contract.  To uphold the quality of the projects, SWD officers regularly visit the service providers to examine their service records and related information and conduct regular interviews with the participating CSSA recipients to collect their views on the services.

     The above organisations and government departments have adequate channels for the trainees and the public to lodge complaints or express opinions on the course arrangement and other relevant matters.

Ends/Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:01