LCQ11: Youth employment services
In recent years, the International Labour Organization has been promoting the Decent Work Agenda and has expressed concerns about the employment opportunities for and the low-income problem of young people. Decent work means productive work in which the rights of workers are protected, which generates an adequate income, with adequate social protection and sufficient work. On the other hand, the unemployment rate of young people aged 15 to 19 for the second quarter of 2016 was as high as 17.4 per cent, which was five times the overall unemployment rate (3.5 per cent). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:
(1) given that young people who have not completed senior secondary education may study the basic craft courses offered by the Construction Industry Council or the various types of programmes offered by the Hotel and Tourism Institute, the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute, the International Culinary Institute, the Maritime Services Training Institute, the Youth College and Pro-Act Development and Training Centres under the Vocational Training Council to obtain qualifications such as being registered as a semi-skilled worker, a Certificate of Basic Craft Studies, a Certificate of Vocational Education, a Certificate of Technician Foundation Studies, a Diploma of Foundation Studies or a Diploma of Vocational Education (vocational qualifications), (i) the respective numbers of persons who studied the aforesaid courses and (ii) the respective numbers of persons who completed such courses and obtained the relevant vocational qualifications, and the respective percentages of such numbers in the total number of trainees who studied the relevant courses, in each of the past five years (set out in a table);
(2) among the young people who obtained the relevant vocational qualifications in each of the past five years, the number of those who were engaged in work relevant to their vocational qualifications at the end of the subsequent sixth month (set out in a table);
(3) among the young people who obtained the relevant vocational qualifications in each of the five years, the respective numbers and percentages of those (i) who were employed in full-time jobs, (ii) who were employed in part-time jobs, (iii) who pursued further studies, and (iv) who were unemployed, within the subsequent six months (set out in tables of the same format as the table below);
Number of persons (%)
Number of persons (%)
|Registered semi-skilled worker|
|Certificate of Basic Craft Studies|
|Certificate of Vocational Education|
|Certificate of Technician Foundation Studies|
|Diploma of Foundation Studies|
|Diploma of Vocational Education|
(4) the number of young people who obtained the relevant vocational qualifications and were employed within the subsequent six months in each of the past five years, with a breakdown by the salary income group to which their monthly salaries belong (set out in tables of the same format as the table below):
|Monthly salary ($)||Number of registered semi-skilled workers||Number of persons holding a Certificate of Basic Craft Studies||Number of persons holding a Certificate of Vocational Education||Number of persons holding a Certificate of Technician Foundation Studies||Number of persons holding a Diploma of Foundation Studies||Number of persons holding a Diploma of Vocational Education|
|Between 2,000 and 3,999|
|Between 4,000 and 5,999|
|Between 6,000 and 7,999|
|Between 8,000 and 9,999|
|Between 10,000 and 14,999|
|Between 15,000 and 19,999|
|Between 20,000 and 29,999|
|30,000 or above|
(5) given the persistently high unemployment rate of young people, whether the authorities have studied measures to boost the training places and employment opportunities for young people, so as to smoothen their transition from school to work; and
(6) whether the authorities have studied the formulation of measures to facilitate young people to obtain decent work; if they have not, whether they will conduct a study expeditiously?
The Government attaches great importance to youth employment and is committed to providing comprehensive training and employment support to assist young people in entering the job market. Because of the lack of working experience, higher job mobility and more time required in job search etc., youth unemployment rate is higher than the overall figure. This phenomenon is also common for many economies as pointed out by the International Labour Organisation. Hong Kong's latest unemployment rate for young people aged 15 to 19 for the three-month period from August to October 2016 has dropped to 10.7 per cent.
My reply to the question raised by Hon Shiu Ka-chun is as follows:
(1) The information sought is provided as follows:
|Vocational Qualification||Year||Number of persons who study the Basic Craft Course of the Construction Industry Council (CIC)||Number of persons who study and subsequently completed the relevant course, and obtained the registered semi-skilled worker status||Percentage of the total number of persons who study the relevant course
|Registered semi-skilled worker||2011||323||230||71%|
Hotel and Tourism Institute, Chinese Culinary Institute and International Culinary Institute of the Vocational Training Council (VTC) offer full-time post-secondary 3 (PS3) certificate programmes for students without completing senior secondary schooling. These certificate programmes, in general, are of durations of two to three years. Prior to 2013/14 academic year (AY), some certificate programmes offered were of a shorter duration from 22 weeks to one year. Maritime Services Training Institute, another member institution of the VTC, also offers a full-time PS3 certificate programme with a duration of 23 weeks. The numbers of enrolled students, graduates and relevant percentages of the full-time PS3 certificate programmes offered by these four institutions from 2010/11 AY to 2014/15 AY are as follows:
|Vocational Qualification||Academic Year||Total Number of Enrolled Students
(Including graduating and non-graduating classes)
|Number of Enrolled Students of Graduating Classes||Number of Graduates||Percentage of Number of Graduates over Number of Enrolled Students of Graduating Classes|
Moreover, Youth Colleges and Pro-Act Training and Development Centres of VTC also offer full-time PS3 Diploma of Vocational Education (DVE) programme for students without completing senior secondary schooling. The PS3 DVE programme adopts a credit-based system. Based on their level of study when joining the programme as well as their own needs, students can choose from an array of modules. Upon accumulation of requisite credits, full-time students will be eligible for being awarded the Certificate of Basic Craft Studies (BCC), Certificate of Technician Foundation Studies (TFC) and Diploma of Vocational Education (DVE) (not including Certificate of Vocational Education) at different exit points. Students spend different time to acquire different exit awards. It normally takes three to four years for a Secondary 3 school leaver to complete the DVE programme and acquire the DVE qualification. Besides, some full-time DVE students may transfer to part-time studies when they intend to join the workforce. The enrolment of full-time students of PS3 DVE programme from 2010/11 AY to 2014/15 AY are as follows:
|Total Number of Enrolled Students (Including students of all years)||2 767||4 015||4 842||5 312||5 405|
Owing to different progress of credit accumulation and choices of exit points of DVE students, the relevant graduation percentage is not available. The number of graduates at different exit points from 2010/11 AY to 2014/15 AY are shown as follows:
|Academic Year||Number of Graduates with DVE award||Number of Graduates with TFC award||Number of Graduates with BCC award|
|2010/11||- (Note 3)||27||183|
|2011/12 (Note 2)||139||104||252|
|2012/13 (Note 2)||444||103||245|
Note 3: The first cohort of graduates of the DVE graduated in the 2011/12 AY.
(2) The information provided by CIC is:
|Vocational Qualification||Year||Among the above youngsters who obtained the registered semi-skilled worker status, number of persons who are engaged in work related to the qualification after six months.||Percentage of the total number of the above persons obtained the registered semi-skilled worker status
|Registered semi-skilled worker||2011||187 (Note 4)||81% (Note 4)|
|2012||234 (Note 4)||88% (Note 4)|
The VTC conducts a graduate employment survey every year to, enquire the graduates' employment status within the six months after graduation. In the survey, no question is set for asking graduates whether the vocational qualification (Certificate, BCC, TFC or DVE) that they acquired is related to the jobs they are working in. Hence, no available data could be provided.
(3) Regarding the employment/education/unemployment situation among the young people within the subsequent six months after they obtained the relevant vocational qualifications in each of the past five years, CIC does not have the relevant statistical data whereas the information provided by VTC is in Appendix 1.
(4) The statistical data on the salary distribution for the young people who obtained the relevant vocational qualifications and were employed within the subsequent six months in each of the past five years is provided in Appendix 2.
(5) To promote youth employment, the Government provides youths with comprehensive training and employment support through the VTC, the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) and the Labour Department (LD).
The mission of VTC is to provide a valued choice to secondary school leavers and in-service practitioners. Both pre-employment and in-service training programmes of the VTC can help learners acquire the values, knowledge and skills for lifelong learning and enhanced employability. It is worth mentioning that with funding from the Government, the VTC has implemented the Pilot Training and Support Scheme since the 2014/15 AY to provide young people with a clear career progression pathway by integrating structured classroom learning with on-the-job training. Apprenticeship training for targeted industries will be provided to students alongside a guaranteed level of salary and incentive allowance. The total commitment of the Scheme is $288 million, benefitting about 4 000 students of four cohorts. In addition, the Government has provided recurrent subvention of about $18 million to the VTC since the 2014/15 AY for providing industrial attachment opportunities for 9 000 students each year and hence improving their employability.
ERB provides dedicated training courses for young people aged 15 or above, including the "Youth Training Programme", "Squad '3S' Programme", "Youth Management Trainee Programme", etc. These courses are full-time placement-tied courses, rendering training and placement follow-up services to young trainees. Eligible young people may enroll in ERB's courses for the general public according to their interest and occupational aspiration. ERB will determine the training places of each course flexibly taking into account the market demand. Training bodies may also apply to ERB for allocating additional training places as appropriate.
The LD launches the Youth Employment and Training Programme (YETP) which provides one-stop pre-employment and on-the-job training for young school leavers aged 15 to 24 with educational attainment at sub-degree level or below to enhance their employability. YETP offers diversified services with no pre-set quota. Enrolment is on a year-round basis without any minimum academic requirements so as to allow participation of any young person who aspires to receive training or to seek employment. The services offered under YETP include pre-employment training courses, workplace attachment, on-the-job training, off-the-job vocational training course and examination allowance, customised career guidance and employment support services offered by registered social workers. Through the provision of training allowance, the LD encourages employers to employ young people joining YETP and provide them with on-the-job training.
The LD has also set up two youth employment resource centres entitled "Youth Employment Start" (Y.E.S.) to provide one-stop and integrated employment and self-employment support services to young people aged 15 to 29. Y.E.S. offers a wide range of services to assist young people to enhance their employability and facilitate their access to the latest employment market information so that they can secure a firm footing in the employment market and sustain in their development. These services include assessments on their career potential, career guidance, professional counselling service, recruitment activities and training programmes etc. Y.E.S. works closely with schools to assist secondary school students to understand the world of work.
The Government will continue to monitor closely the employment market trends, manpower needs of different sectors and career interests of young people, and review the existing measures basing on the actual situation so as to help young people transit from school to work.
(6) The LD provides comprehensive and free employment services to all job seekers (including young people) in their job hunt. To enhance job seekers' employment opportunities, the LD maintains close liaison with employers of various industries to canvass vacancies suitable for job seekers with a diverse range of educational background and working experience. The relevant information is widely disseminated through its network of 13 job centres, the Interactive Employment Service website, its mobile application and vacancy search terminals installed in numerous locations across the territory. The LD also organises job fairs to expedite the dissemination of employment information. As set out in part (5) of the reply, the LD has launched the YETP and set up Y.E.S. to further assist young people in gaining employment.
The LD also endeavours to safeguard and improve employees' rights and benefits. For example, the Employment Ordinance provides eligible employees including young people with various protection and benefits including payment of wages, restrictions on wage deductions, rest days, paid statutory holidays, paid annual leave, sickness allowance, severance payment and long service payment, etc. The Employment of Young Persons (Industry) Regulations regulate the working hours and general conditions of employment of young persons (i.e. persons aged 15 but below 18) in industrial undertakings, and prohibits employing young persons to work in dangerous trades.
The Government will continue to review labour policies from time to time with a view to progressively improving the rights and benefits of employees (including young people) while striking a reasonable balance between employers' and employees' interests and having due regard to the pace of Hong Kong's socio-economic development.
Ends/Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:00
Issued at HKT 18:00