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SLW visits trainees of Pilot Project on Multi-skills Workers Training (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited two elderly homes in Kowloon today (August 14) to see the daily work of trainees under the Pilot Project on Multi-skills Workers Training. He encouraged them to grasp the opportunities brought about by an ageing population to realise their career aspirations in the elderly service industry.

     Mr Cheung observed how the trainees serve the elderly people in the two elderly homes. He was pleased to see that they are very enthusiastic in their work and some have established a bonding relationship with the senior citizens. The elderly residents told Mr Cheung that they are highly satisfied with the services provided by the young trainees. The trainees have also enlivened the elderly homes, Mr Cheung was told.

     While chatting with the trainees, Mr Cheung discussed the challenges brought about by an ageing population in Hong Kong. In 2012, there were about 1 million people aged 65 or above, accounting for 14 per cent of the total population. According to the latest projections, the number of elderly people will increase to 2.56 million in 2041, accounting for 30 per cent of the total population. "There is a huge demand for manpower for the elderly service industry and great potential in the silver-hair market," Mr Cheung said. He encouraged the trainees to grasp the opportunities. Through taking part in the project, they can serve the industry on the one hand while planning for their careers on the other.

     Financed by the Lotteries Fund, the Pilot Project on Multi-skills Workers Training was launched by the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Social Welfare Department in 2013, Mr Cheung said. Under this "first hire, then train" pilot project, young people are recruited to provide care services at elderly homes. They are also provided with subsidies to pursue a two-year part-time programme offered by the Open University of Hong Kong. Trainees successfully passing the necessary assessment after the first year will be qualified as health workers. Graduates who would like to pursue further career development in care services may also have the chance to acquire other professional qualifications such as enrolled nurse by way of further self-arranged study. About 160 young people are currently participating in the pilot project.

     "Since the pilot project has been well received, the Government has earmarked $147 million to expand it to cover rehabilitation services. An additional 1 000 places will be provided in phases," Mr Cheung added.

     The two elderly homes are the Hiu Kwong (To Kwa Wan) Nursing Centre in To Kwa Wan which is a private home and the Oasis Nursing Home, a contract home in Tsz Wan Shan. Seven and six project trainees are currently serving in these elderly homes respectively.

Ends/Thursday, August 14, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:04


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