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Speech by Acting CE at Vocational Training Council 35th Anniversary Dinner
     Following is the speech by the Acting Chief Executive, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at Vocational Training Council 35th Anniversary Dinner today (December 8):
Dr Chen (The Chairman of VTC, Dr Clement Chen), Dr Yau (The Executive Director of VTC, Dr Carrie Yau), ladies and gentlemen,
     Good evening. I am most honoured to join you all tonight to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Vocational Training Council (VTC).
     For 35 years, the VTC has been devoted to providing flexible and diversified study choices for secondary school leavers and working adults as well as nurturing the requisite human capital in support of the development of Hong Kong. Those choices can be life-changing. They offer knowledge, values and skills and thereby enhancing employability and offering the prospect of lifelong learning.
     The VTC’s mission began in 1982 when the Government established it as a statutory body dedicated to vocational education.
     Today, the VTC provides training courses to more than 250,000 students a year through its 13 member institutions, playing a pivotal role in ensuring skill-based training for our workforce. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an achievement worthy of our applause and our gratitude.
     The theme of tonight’s 35th anniversary celebration, “Creating Value, Perfecting Skills,” highlights the ongoing mission of the VTC. It underscores, as well, the key to Hong Kong’s longstanding success. And that, of course, is a quality workforce. The people of Hong Kong will always make the difference.
     The VTC creates value for its students and our society, aligning vocational and professional education and training services to the ever-changing needs of industry.  It enhances apprenticeship training and, through its “Earn and Learn Pilot Scheme”, attracts young people to industries with a keen demand for labour, while providing apprentices with first-hand experience in the workplace.
     The VTC also creates opportunities for our young people to participate in international skills competitions, widening their horizons and boosting their confidence.  At the 44th WorldSkills Competition held in Abu Dhabi in October this year, the 22-member Hong Kong team took home one bronze medal and seven medallions of excellence, tying for the 25th place with New Zealand and Sweden and beating larger countries like the US and Spain.  Also, the 30-member IVE SOPHIE Team was the 4th team to cross the finish line in the challenging Cruiser Class at the World Solar Challenge 2017 held in Australia in October, outperforming strong contenders from the US, Australia and Singapore. I would like to commend the Hong Kong team, VTC Council members, management and teaching staff for a job well done!
     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government attaches great importance to vocational and professional education and training.  We have put forth a number of policy measures in this respect, including regularising the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions and Sectors from the 2018/19 academic year onwards with an increase in the number of subsidised places to about 3 000 per cohort and continuing the industrial attachment projects to improve students’ employability.  We also fully support the VTC to further enhance its infrastructure, as demonstrated by our support for it to develop a modern and multi-disciplinary campus in East Kowloon and develop the Aircraft and Marine Engineering Centre within the IVE Tsing Yi campus.
     To diversify our talent pool to sustain Hong Kong's long-term competitiveness, as pledged by the Chief Executive in her inaugural Policy Address announced just two months ago, the Government will carry out in-depth reviews on eight key areas of education, including a review on how vocational and professional education and training can be better promoted to cater for students’ diverse abilities and interests and to foster closer business-school collaboration to meet the manpower needs of Hong Kong.  On this initiative, we welcome the views and suggestions from VTC and its partners.
     To ensure that VTC’s programmes remain relevant and responsive to market needs, Government’s effort alone is not enough.  The achievements that VTC has made in the past 35 years would not have been possible without the staunch support from its partners including alumni, industrial partners and the community.  Apart from course planning and curriculum design, partners of the VTC also provide valuable learning opportunities to our next generations with scholarship sponsorships, industry attachment and job placements that have enabled VTC students to fully unleash their potential and pursue their aspirations.
     On this note, I would like to pay warm tribute to the VTC Chairman, Dr Clement Chen, for your outstanding leadership at the helm, to all Council members, industrial partners, teachers, staff, alumni and students for your support to vocational and professional education and training of Hong Kong. I wish the Vocational Training Council all the best in the many years ahead and all of you an enjoyable and memorable evening.
     Happy 35th Birthday VTC!  And “V” stands for vision – vision for equipping our younger generation, “T” stands for tenacity – tenacity in promoting quality professional and vocational education and training, “C” stands for commitment – commitment in nurturing our young people and building for Hong Kong’s future.
     Thank you very much.
     Please allow me now to say a few words in Chinese.

Ends/Friday, December 8, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:30
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