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LCQ14: Placement-tied courses of Employees Retraining Board

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Sing-chi and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (April 29):


     The Employees Retraining Board (ERB) indicates that its placement-tied courses are offered in response to the needs of the market.  Yet, it has been reported that some training bodies have referred graduated trainees to take up jobs which are not related to the courses that they have attended, and as the contents of some courses are impractical, it is doubtful if it is true that the average placement rate of graduated trainees from such courses is about 80%, as claimed by ERB.  In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(a) how ERB calculates that the average placement rate of graduated trainees from placement-tied courses is as high as 80%; whether graduated trainees referred to take up temporary work for one day only are considered placed; whether ERB has assessed if the method used to calculate the placement rate can reflect the actual employment situation of graduated trainees;

(b) given that, in order to make its courses better meet market needs, ERB has set up a number of trade advisory groups and course advisory groups with the participation of industry players, and regularly met with people from various sectors including employers, trade associations, trade unions, professional organisations and training bodies, etc., so as to understand the market and develop courses, but the contents of some courses are still criticised as impractical, what improvement measures ERB have put in place and their details;

(c) of the placement rates of graduated trainees from placement-tied courses who took up jobs in the past five years which were related to the courses they had attended; if no information on the placement rates concerned is available, of the reasons for that; and

(d) as it has been reported that ERB has commissioned a research company to conduct, by random sampling, half-yearly studies on the placement rates of graduated trainees, of the relevant details and their results?



(a) The length of placement-tied courses offered by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) is approximately one to three months with total training hours ranging from 100 to some 300 hours.  Graduates of placement-tied courses are normally provided with three-month post-training placement services.  Training bodies (TBs) are required to report the placement details of individual graduates, including the name of employers, date of placement, job nature, position and salary etc., to the ERB for monitoring purpose.

     As one of the key performance indicators of TBs, "placement rate" represents the percentage of the number of successfully placed graduates over the number of graduates of the course.  The definition of "placement" currently adopted by the ERB follows that of the International Labour Organisation, that is, a trainee is considered "placed" once he/she is engaged in a wage-receiving job during the placement period.

     Nevertheless, to promote sustainable employment, the ERB has initiated discussion with its appointed TBs on a revised definition of placement rate.  The ERB is also undertaking a comprehensive study with the objective of enhancing the placement services provided to its graduates.  The ERB will take into account the difficulties experienced by TBs in securing placement opportunities during the financial tsunami.

(b) Through consultation with stakeholders of different trades and TBs, the ERB keeps under regular review, and revamps as necessary, the existing courses and develops new courses in response to market needs.  Surveys, including trainee and employer satisfaction surveys, are conducted from time to time to evaluate the effectiveness of its training services.  The ERB also collects and analyses manpower, employment and training information published by the Government and local and overseas organisations for the purpose of updating its training programmes.

     To enable more effective course development and to strengthen partnership and consultative networks with industries, the ERB will re-organise its current Trade Advisory Groups and Course Advisory Groups into Industry Consultative Networks (ICNs).  Industry representatives will be invited to join the ICNs.  The ICNs will help the ERB in reviewing the course contents of its training programmes to ensure that the overall effectiveness and relevance of these programmes is maintained.  The ERB will also continue to conduct studies on the training and employment needs of different service targets, and endeavour to keep its training programmes abreast of market needs and changes.

(c) Apart from the placement details quoted in (a) above, TBs are also required to report the relevancy rate of placement (ie number of graduates placed in jobs relevant to their training as a ratio of the total number of graduates successfully placed) to the ERB.  During the five-year period between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the relevancy rate of placement on average was about 66%.

(d) As part of the quality assurance mechanism, the ERB has commissioned independent consultants to conduct Placement Audit Surveys twice a year.  The placed graduates who have completed placement-tied courses during the period concerned will be randomly selected for sample checking.  Detailed information, including the name of employers, date of placement, job nature, position, salary etc, will be checked and verified.  The record accuracy rates of the Placement Audit Surveys have been consistently high at 99%.

Ends/Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:44


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