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VPET Initiatives

Task Force on Promotion of Vocational Education

VPET Initiatives

 

The Government has all along stressed the importance of VPET for the sustainable social and economic development of Hong Kong, and has been actively implementing various VPET initiatives, including the launch of promotion and publicity activities, and the provision of grant subsidies to secondary schools to cover Applied Learning course fees.  Some of the initiatives are elaborated below:

Training and Support Scheme
Training and Support Scheme

The Training and Support Scheme aims to attract and retain talent for specific industries with a keen demand for labour through integrating structured apprenticeship training programmes with clear career progression pathway.

The Scheme covers industries meeting the following criteria –

(a) the industry is facing labour shortage and/or ageing problems, and it has difficulties in hiring and retaining young people;

(b) the relevant trades covered under the industry are very specialised and with a high level of technology contents; and

(c) the industry is committed to provide allowance or subsidy to trainees and to offer a certain salary level to trainees who have completed the apprenticeship training and are willing to join relevant industries.

The Pilot Scheme has been implemented through the Vocational Training Council (VTC) since the 2014/15 academic year. The Government works with the participating industries to encourage more trainees to join industries which require specialised skills under the “Earn and Learn” model. The scheme has been regularised since the 2019/20 academic year with an increased number of training places to 1 200 per year and an increased average monthly subsidy of $2,500 per month for each trainee. to implement workplace assessment on a pilot basis for three years from the sane academic year for three years to improve the scheme.

Thus far, the Government has introduced several improvement measures to enhance the Scheme. In order to evaluate trainees’ abilities and performance in the workplace more effectively, the Government has introduced a three-year Pilot Incentive Scheme to Employers starting from the 2019/20 academic year. With a subsidy of up to $36,000 per trainee, it encourages employers to participate in workplace assessment for trainees. This will facilitate the adjustment of the content of training courses more effectively and improve trainees’ work performance.

On the other hand, to further enhance the VPET learning experience, for three years starting from the 2020/21 academic year, the Government will provide a non-recurrent funding of about $20 million in total to support trainees under the Training and Support Scheme to take part in study and exchange programmes outside Hong Kong, attend short-term skills and practical courses as well as visit institutions/enterprises in those places, allowing them to understand the development of relevant industries and the learning experience of VPET students in other places, thereby facilitating skills exchange and broadening their exposure.

For details, please refer to the relevant website: http://www.vtc.edu.hk/earnlearn/html/en/.

(The Training and Support Scheme is known as “Earn and Learn Scheme” on the VTC’s website.)

Industrial Attachment (IA)
Industrial Attachment (IA)

With the evidence that industrial attachment could provide a real-life organisational context for students to develop specific or generic skills and effectively enhance their employability after graduation, starting from the 2014/15 academic year, the Government has allocated recurrent funding of about $18 million to the VTC to provide industrial attachment opportunities for about 9 000 students every year mainly studying subvented higher diploma programmes and certain Diploma of Vocational Education programmes. 

The Self-financing Post-secondary Education Fund (SPEF) launched a new category under its Quality Enhancement Support Scheme in January 2016 on a pilot basis to support IA projects that aim to increase students' employability by sourcing more internship opportunities for post-secondary students or enhancing relevant institutional support for students. To encourage institutions to explore more initiatives to support students on IA, the category of IA projects is expanded from the 2019/20 academic year on a two-year pilot basis. Under the expanded category, institutions may also submit applications on IA projects to be undertaken outside Hong Kong.

Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP)
Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP)

SSSDP was launched as a new initiative under the 2014 Policy Address to subsidise about 1 000 students per cohort starting from the 2015/16 academic year to pursue designated full-time locally-accredited self-financing undergraduate programmes in selected disciplines.

It has been announced in the 2017 Policy Address that SSSDP would be regularised in the 2018/19 academic year with an increase in the number of subsidised places to about 3 000 per cohort. Current students of the eligible places of designated programmes will also receive the subsidy from the 2018/19 academic year onwards.

It has been announced in the 2018 Policy Address that starting from the 2019/20 academic year, about 2,000 students per cohort will be subsidised to pursue designated full-time locally accredited self-financing sub-degree programmes in selected disciplines. Eligible continuing local students of the designated sub-degree programmes will also receive the subsidy.

For details, please refer to the relevant website: https://www.cspe.edu.hk/en/sssdp/sssdp.html.

Career and Life Planning Grant (CLPG)
Career and Life Planning Grant (CLPG)

Starting from the 2014/15 school year, the Education Bureau has provided public sector (including special schools) schools and Direct Subsidy Scheme schools operating classes at senior secondary levels with an annual recurrent cash grant at the mid-point salary of the Graduate Master to enhance the capacity of responsible teaching team and to facilitate the co-ordination and implementation of life planning. 

For details, please refer to the relevant website: https://lifeplanning.edb.gov.hk/en/school-administration/circulars.html.

Qualifications Framework Fund (“QF Fund”)
Qualifications Framework Fund (“QF Fund”)

The Government is fully committed to the development of the Qualifications Framework (QF) in supporting lifelong learning which is conducive to enhancing capability and competitiveness of the local workforce.  It was announced in the 2014 Policy Address to establish a dedicated fund of $1 billion, namely the QF Fund, to provide a steady source of income to support the sustainable development and implementation of QF.  Established on 1 September 2014, the QF Fund is an endowment fund to support different schemes/initiatives for the sustainable development and implementation of QF, including but not limited to the following two areas:

- Designated Support Schemes for QF (incorporated the previous "Qualifications Framework Support Schemes" with  some operating parameters relaxed); and

- Funding for industry training advisory committees (ITACs), QF-related studies or projects and public education. 

As announced in the Chief Executive’s 2017 Policy Address, the Government would inject $1.2 billion into the QF Fund for the continued implementation of various initiatives under the QF.  The injection proposal was approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in January 2018.

The Education Bureau has set up a Steering Committee on QF Fund to advise the Secretary for Education on the policy, strategy and administration of the QF Fund.

For details, please refer to the relevant website: https://www.hkqf.gov.hk/en/home/index.html.

Applied Learning (ApL)
Applied Learning (ApL)

At the senior secondary level, students’ understanding of VPET is enhanced through a variety of learning opportunities, including Applied Learning (ApL) courses, the career-related experiences embedded in the Other Learning Experiences (OLE) activities, and other subjects.

ApL is a valued senior secondary elective subject and students at all ability levels can take ApL courses. The design principles of ApL courses are the same as those of other school subjects, focusing on the development of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. ApL offers studies with equal emphasis on practice and theory linked to broad professional and vocational fields. For holistic learning, a flexible combination of ApL with core subjects, elective subjects and Other Learning Experiences helps provide theoretical and applied learning opportunities to cater for students’ diverse learning needs. ApL aims at enabling students to understand fundamental theories and concepts through application and practice, and to develop their generic skills and beginners’ skill set for further studies and work.

In addition to the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) qualification, most ApL courses are registered in the Qualifications Register as certificate programmes at Qualifications Framework (QF) Level 3.

EDB has been fully subsidising ApL courses starting from the 2016/17 school year to encourage more schools to offer ApL courses so that more students with interests in VPET can benefit from the courses.

For details, please refer to the relevant website: www.edb.gov.hk/apl/en

Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes
Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes

To encourage working adults in designated industries to pursue higher qualifications, the Government has launched a Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes for three years since the 2016/17 academic year.  Tuition fee subsidy will be provided for students admitted to designated professional part-time programmes offered by the VTC, covering programmes in the disciplines of construction, engineering and technology. Starting from the 2019/20 academic year, the Government has allocated an additional $234 million to provide tuition fee subsidy for three more years which will benefit another 5 600 students admitted to designated professional part-time programmes offered by the VTC. The extended Pilot Subsidy Scheme will also be expanded to cover practioners in the creative industry. The above schemes will enhance the employability of young people and working adults, and attract and retain talents for the relevant industries. Successful applicants will be refunded 60% of the tuition fees of eligible programmes, subject to a maximum of $36,000 (for creative disciplines) or $45,000 (for other disciplines) per person.

For details, please refer to the Vplus Engineering website or Vplus Creative Industries website.

(The Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes is known as “Vplus Subsidy Scheme” in the VTC’s website, and is further divided into “Vplus Engineering” and “Vplus Creative Industries” according to the discipline.)