LCQ13: Earn and Learn Pilot Scheme for Retail Industry
A total of four runs of the Foundation Diploma (FD) programme under the Earn and Learn Pilot Scheme for Retail Industry (the Earn and Learn Scheme) were organised from 2014 to 2017. Regarding the implementation of the Earn and Learn Scheme since 2018, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
(1) how many runs of the FD programme have been organised since 2018; in respect of each of such runs, (i) the number of enrollees, (ii) the number of dropouts (with a breakdown by reason for dropping out), (iii) the number of graduates, (iv) the date of graduation, and (v) the number of graduates who are still employed by the same employers during their training period;
(2) the respective total numbers of positions offered by those employers participating in the Earn and Learn Scheme to the graduates of those runs subsequent to the fourth run of the FD programme; among such positions, the respective numbers of those with a monthly basic salary of (a) $11,000 or more and (b) less than $11,000, and among the latter, the respective numbers of positions with a monthly basic salary (i) of less than $5,000, (ii) between $5,000 and $7,000, (iii) between $7,001 and $9,000, and (iv) of over $9,000;
(3) among the graduates of those runs subsequent to the fourth run of the FD programme, (i) the number of those who are still working in the retail industry (with a breakdown by the position they hold and the range to which their monthly salaries belong), and (ii) the number of those who have left the retail industry (with a breakdown by reason for leaving); and
(4) the respective numbers of enrollees for and employers participating in the latest run of the FD programme; the results of a comparison between such numbers and the corresponding numbers of the first run?
The Earn and Learn Pilot Scheme for the Retail Industry (the Pilot Scheme) was launched in 2014 by the Vocational Training Council (VTC) in partnership with the Hong Kong Retail Management Association. So far, the Pilot Scheme has offered a total of seven cohorts of the Diploma of Foundation Studies (DFS) (Note 1) programme which provide opportunities for Secondary Six graduates to attend classes on campus while acquiring retail work experience and receiving a Government allowance of $2,000 per month. Reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:
The first cohort of the DFS programme under the Pilot Scheme commenced in September 2014, with an intake of 255 student-workers employed by 20 companies. Under the Pilot Scheme, three cohorts of the DFS programme were offered since 2018, namely the fifth, sixth and seventh cohorts. The number of student-workers joining the Pilot Scheme has dropped significantly in recent years. Details are as follows –
The fifth cohort of the DFS programme commenced in September 2018, with an intake of 24 student-workers, of which 11 completed the programme in end-February 2020 and the remaining 13 had dropped out. According to their feedback to VTC, the dropouts had left the programme for reasons including early engagement in full-time jobs in the retail or other sectors, opting for full-time studies instead, lack in capacity for coping with work and study concurrently and other personal reasons. According to the tracking survey of the fifth cohort DFS student-workers who had completed the programme conducted by VTC in September this year (to which seven out of 11 graduates responded), four graduates were undertaking further studies and one was working outside the retail sector. The remaining two graduates were still considering their future paths.
The sixth cohort of the DFS programme which commenced in September 2019 is still in progress, with nine student-workers enrolled. The latest cohort (i.e. the seventh cohort) of the DFS programme commenced in September 2020, with an intake of only four student-workers employed by two companies. In the meantime, VTC offered two full-time Government subsidised retail courses (i.e. Higher Diploma in Retail Innovation and Management and Diploma of Foundation Studies - Retail) in the current academic year. These courses are similar in nature to the programmes under the Pilot Scheme and about 120 students were enrolled in total.
Comparatively speaking, the number of student-workers joining the Pilot Scheme has dropped significantly in recent years and no students were enrolled in the corresponding Higher Diploma programme in the last two academic years, indicating that the full-time Government subsidised course format is more popular with students, compared with that of the Pilot Scheme.
Considering that the student demand for the programmes under the Pilot Scheme has dropped significantly, we will stop accepting new applications for the Pilot Scheme from the 2021/22 academic year onwards. Student-workers already enrolled under the Pilot Scheme will not be affected and could complete the programmes as originally planned.
Note 1: Foundation Diploma was renamed as Diploma of Foundation Studies in 2016.
Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Issued at HKT 15:00
Issued at HKT 15:00