LegCo Panel on Manpower
Youth Pre-employment Training Programme
To address the rising unemployment rate among young school leavers mainly aged between 15 and 19, it is proposed that a "Youth Pre-employment Training Programme" should be implemented.
2. The downturn in the economy in the past two years has caused the labour market to slacken and the unemployment rate to rise sharply. As with many other places, during a time of high unemployment, young school leavers and in particular those with a relatively lower educational attainment, are most vulnerable and tend to be hardest hit. Figures show that the unemployment rate for persons aged between 15 - 19 has jumped from 10.6% in the first quarter of 1997 to 23% in the first quarter of 1999, almost three times higher than the overall unemployment rate. Young first time job seekers have also found it increasingly difficult to secure employment.
3. It is estimated that there are at present 17,000 such young people who have attained no more than secondary 5 qualifications currently seeking employment in the job market. In the next few months, with the conclusion of the current school term, another 30,000 secondary 5 or secondary 3 students will be leaving schools to join the labour market. There has been widespread community concern over the prospects of young school leavers in securing jobs. The longer these young people stay idle, the more difficult it would be for them to enter/re-enter the labour market.
Youth Pre-employment Training Programme
4. As the economy may not improve significantly in the near future and in view of the increasing number of unemployed youth, the Government considers that prompt action needs to be taken to address the problem. It is proposed that a Youth Pre-employment Training Programme should be launched.
5. The object of the programme is to provide a wide range of employment-related training to targeted youth so as to build up their confidence, upgrade their interpersonal, computer and job specific skills thereby enhancing their employability.
6. The training can be grouped into four modules:-
- Leadership, self-discipline and team building training (one to two weeks) - the disciplined services (including the Police Force, Fire Services Department, Immigration Department, Customs and Excise Department and Correctional Services Department), the Civil Aid Service and the Auxiliary Medical Service have confirmed their willingness to participate in the Programme. The programme elements would include footdrills, leadership and confidence training, orienteering, team building, organising skills and personality development (self awareness, emotional intelligence, time management, etc.)
- Job search skills and interpersonal skills (one week) - focus of the training would be on developing problem solving skills, communication skills, interviewing techniques, labour market information etc. The purpose is to cultivate a positive work attitude and to equip trainees with job search and job interview skills. The ERB, in consultation and coordination with SWD, will line up training bodies and NGOs to provide such training under the Programme.
- Computer application (one week) - The ERB will provide, through its training bodies, training on basic computer knowledge and usage. This will cover commonly used software programmes (such as Windows, Word, Excel etc.). Those participants who develop a keen interest in IT may continue to progress onto more advanced training provided under job specific skills.
- Job Specific Skills (one to 12 weeks) - A wide variety of courses will be provided mainly through VTC and ERB. The courses will be specially adapted for the youth under this Programme and will be selected on the basis of their suitability and popularity with young people. Where possible, on-the-job training will be arranged with relevant companies. In addition, the Construction Industry Training Authority (CITA) will be prepared to allocate priority to trainees wishing to join its courses.
7. The Labour Department (LD) will take on the role of lead co-ordinator for the Programme. Young job seekers will be encouraged through publicity to register with the LD. Once registered, each trainee will be eligible for enrolment on any or all of the four modules. However they may attend only one course in each module. Trainees will receive a Certificate of Accomplishment after completing a module.
8. Preliminary discussions with training bodies and government departments indicate that up to a total of about 12,000 training places can be provided initially under the Programme. This number could be increased if more agencies joined the Programme.
9. It is proposed that the Programme should start in September this year for a period of about six months until February 2000. By the completion of the Programme, the trained youth should face better employment prospects.
10. The Government is actively discussing with training bodies and voluntary agencies the details regarding training courses and implementation schedule for the Programme. It is also identifying possible sources of funding for the Programme. It hopes to finalise arrangements by latter part of July.
Education and Manpower Bureau