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LCQ9: Manpower training of aviation industry
     Following is a question by the Hon Luk Chung-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (October 25):


     Recently, some representatives of trade unions have relayed to me that at present, about 64 per cent and 47 per cent respectively of the current jobs and vacancies of the Hong Kong International Airport are of a technical nature, such as ground handling service and maintenance. However, as the programmes offered by the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy (HKIAA) established by the Airport Authority (AA) focus on the training of management staff, they cannot help alleviate the shortage of technical staff, which reflects a mismatch between training needs and resources. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(1) it knows the gender ratio, age distribution, education level distribution, median wage and wastage of the employees currently working at the Airport; the current number of vacancies at the Airport, together with a breakdown by job nature (i.e. (i) management, (ii) professional, (iii) skilled and (iv) low skilled/manual);

(2) it knows the number of technical staff training programmes to be offered by HKIAA in the coming five years; the main contents, numbers of places, durations, admission requirements and tuition fees of such programmes, and whether such programmes will be operated jointly by HKIAA and the business partners of AA; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) it will take measures to encourage graduates of HKIAA programmes to join the aviation-related industries; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(4) it will advise HKIAA to make reference to the "Earn and Learn" Pilot Schemes operated by the Vocational Training Council and take the initiative to contact the business partners of AA for the provision of on-the-job training places, and to attract talents to join the aviation-related industries by offering incentives such as subsidy, "incentive allowance", as well as employment and salary guarantees; if not, of the reasons for that?



     Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is an important driver for Hong Kong economy. It is of paramount importance to maintain Hong Kong's status as an international and regional aviation hub. To strengthen Hong Kong as a major aviation hub, the Government has attached great importance to the development and manpower training of the aviation industry. Through encouraging the provision of various types of vocational education and training programmes, as well as the establishment of Maritime and Aviation Training Fund (MATF), the Government supports manpower training of the aviation industry and encourages young people to join the industry after graduation. The Fund aims to build up in due course a vibrant, diversified and competitive pool of professionals and technical personnel to support the sustainable development of the airport and the aviation industry as a whole. Our reply to the various parts of the question raised by the Hon Luk Chung-hung is as follows:

(1) To better understand the latest manpower situation in HKIA, the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) conducts a workforce survey on companies and organisations operating at HKIA from time to time in order to update the manpower situation and forecast for related planning. AA has completed the 2017 Hong Kong International Airport Workforce Survey. Participating companies of the survey included organisations with employees working in HKIA, for example, aviation/logistics services operators, retailers, caterers and contractors, etc. A total of 434 companies participated in this survey. Information on gender distribution, age distribution, turnover rate and vacancies is at Annex 1. The survey did not include information on education background and median wage.

(2) AA always pays attention to the demand for technical staff in HKIA. Therefore, when planning and developing the courses, Hong Kong International Aviation Academy (HKIAA) has invited different stakeholders including business partners, educational institutions, trade unions and non-government organisations to share their insights on training content. The first batch of courses of HKIAA was rolled out in April this year. HKIAA offers a wide range of aviation-related curricula, including Beginners Programmes targeting staff who have newly joined and young people, Professional Programmes which are designed for in-service practitioners to enhance knowledge, and accredited academic courses which are jointly launched by local and overseas education institutions. As of August this year, HKIAA has provided training courses for 2 000 students. It is envisaged that the total intake for this academic year as well as the coming academic year will reach around 3 000 per year. The course fees will be more or less the same as that of this academic year. Details on the courses offered by HKIAA for technical staff in academic year 2017/18 are at Annex 2.

     Currently, HKIAA provides a variety of aviation-related beginners programmes, including programmes which are tailored for the industry newcomers to enhance their knowledge about the aviation industry and operation skills. Introductory courses including ramp operation related courses are also provided for technical staff who newly joined the industry for free. HKIAA has also planned to roll out more training courses in various disciplines for technical staff in the next academic year. For instance, it will consider launching courses related to air cargo and dangerous goods handling. To provide a more suitable training curriculum, HKIAA will continue to exchange views with business partners, educational institutions and unions to understand the training needs and topics. Meanwhile, HKIAA will continue to collaborate with business partners to roll out internship and training programmes, promote on-the-job training culture in the industry to enhance career advancement opportunities for technical staff with a view to retaining talents in the industry.

(3) The Government established a $100-million MATF in 2014. Through different incentive and scholarship schemes (including Professional Training and Examination Refund Scheme, Maritime and Aviation Internship Scheme (the Internship Scheme), Partial Tuition Refund Scheme for the Specialised Aircraft Maintenance Programme and Hong Kong Aviation Scholarship, etc.), MATF seeks to encourage young people (including graduates from HKIAA) to join the aviation industry and support the long-term development of the industry.

     Among the initiatives, the Internship Scheme under MATF has been well received. Since its launch, MATF has funded about 800 internship positions to local students under the Internship Scheme. The Scheme offers the younger generation an early exposure to the wide spectrum of career opportunities in the industry and encourage them to join the industry after graduation. In addition, to encourage young people to choose specialised aircraft maintenance programmes and join the aircraft maintenance industry after graduation, the Partial Tuition Refund Scheme for the Specialised Aircraft Maintenance Programme under the MATF provides extra financial incentive for those who have completed relevant programme offered by the Vocational Training Council, namely the Higher Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering or the Diploma of Vocational Education (Aircraft Maintenance). Eligible applicants who have undertaken these programmes and joined the aircraft maintenance industry after graduation may receive 50 per cent refund of the total tuition fee, subject to a maximum of $30,000. As of June 2017, this Scheme has benefited over 150 students. Taking into account the development of the aviation industry, we will continue to refine the various schemes under the MATF with a view to sustaining manpower development and promoting the industry.

     HKIAA has also launched a wide range of courses to attract young people to enroll in these courses and join the aviation industry. In July and August this year, HKIAA launched four 5-day Aviation Summer Day Camps. Around 300 students joined. Through participating in relevant activities, participants could learn more about the local aviation industry and its development, and acquire some basic knowledge of the functions of different jobs and airport operations. Furthermore, HKIAA rolled out the "Certificate in Airport Services and Operations Programme" in August this year. This programme consists of a 4-week foundation course (covering modules of "Knowing the Aviation Industry", "Aviation Safety" and "English Interview Skills", etc.), as well as a 12-month full-paid internship. Currently, there are 15 business partners providing internship placements, including airlines (Cathay Pacific Airways Limited), aircraft engineering (Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited and China Aircraft Services Limited), aviation security (Aviation Security Company Limited), ramp and flight operations (Hong Kong Airport Services Limited, SATS HK Limited, Jardine Airport Services Limited and Hong Kong Aviation Ground Services Limited), airlines catering services (Cathay Pacific Catering Services (HK) Limited and LSG Sky Chefs), cargo and air freight (Asia Airfreight Terminal, Cathay Pacific Services Limited and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited) and airport services (Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre Limited, and Worldwide Flight Services). During the internship, these business partners provide students with on-the-job training. Such experience can better equip students with industry-related knowledge and skills so as to help them continue their pursuits in the aviation industry. On completion of the internship, students may get employment from these organisations.

(4) In August this year, HKIAA launched the "Certificate in Airport Services and Operations Programme" as mentioned in paragraph (3) above. The programme which consists of a 4-week foundation course and a 12-month full-paid internship was well received by the aviation industry and academic sector. There were over 80 students enrolled in this debut programme. HKIAA will strengthen the collaboration with business partners and increase 50 per cent of the intakes for the programme in the next academic year. HKIAA will also actively consider the feasibility of launching similar "theory plus internship" programmes in the future. Furthermore, HKIAA plans to strengthen the "specialised-skills" training focusing on specific skill sets (for example, ramp operations) with a view to enhancing the specialised skills of young people and assisting the industry to identify and employ appropriate technical talents. HKIAA has no plan to roll-out "Earn & Learn Pilot Scheme for the time being, but will study the details of the scheme and explore the feasibility to enhance the "Certificate in Airport Services and Operations Programme".
Ends/Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:18
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