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Steering Committee on Population Policy convenes 10th meeting

     The Steering Committee on Population Policy (SCPP), chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, held its 10th meeting this afternoon (June 23).

     Following on from previous discussions on advocating a longer working life for the workforce, the SCPP was given a briefing on the Consultation on Extension of the Service of Civil Servants. Members held the view that extending working life is an effective way to increase the workforce and utilise human resources. To adopt a higher retirement age for new recruits to the civil service from a future date, as outlined in the consultation document, could serve as a model for other public sector and subvented organisations and private enterprises, encouraging them to defer their employees' retirement age or adopt flexible retirement arrangements. The consultation will end on August 2, 2014, after which the Government will decide on the way forward and work out the details of implementation, having regard to views gauged and further studies into relevant issues (including financial implications of the proposals).

     In addition, the SCPP is concerned about youth employment. Members noted that the unemployment rate for Hong Kong youths aged 15 to 24 stood at 7.8 per cent between February and April this year, which was a low level compared with other economies. Also, the number of youths who were not in employment, education or training (known as NEET) had dropped to a low of 22 000 in recent years. Nevertheless, the Government cannot be complacent as supporting youth employment is of vital importance to unleashing the potential of youth, and is also crucial to implementing the population policy objective of allowing individuals to realise their potential.

     The SCPP considered that promoting vocational education and enhancing life planning, together with the suggestions to integrate vocational education and employment support, as stated in the Policy Address 2014, have laid a good foundation for improving youth employment. The SCPP also suggested making reference to overseas experience, enhancing work on this front, and putting forward more measures to assist youth to better understand and to develop multiple pathways. In concrete terms, the SCPP held the view that directions worth considering included strengthening employers' participation in the curriculum design of vocational education and provision of internship opportunities, as well as better co-ordination of efforts by schools, social welfare organisations, training institutions and the business sector. Such efforts can help youth who have decided not to pursue their studies to better understand themselves and their career aspirations, as well as to enhance their employability.

Ends/Monday, June 23, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:35


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