SCMP Thursday, November 16, 2000


AUDIT COMMISSION

Job courses 'fail to match demand'

SUSAN SHIU

The commission raised fears that courses offered by the government-subsidised Employees Retraining Board did not correspond to labour market demand.
The report said that an average of 2,711 job vacancies were registered with the Labour Department in 1999-2000, but no job-specific courses were provided during the period.
It also said different names were being applied to retraining courses provided by different bodies and this was causing confusion to applicants seeking retraining.
The report said there were 22 different names for essentially similar Chinese word processing courses. It mentioned one extreme case in which a trainee attended 14 general-skill courses in eight years.
The retraining board has also been criticised by the Ombudsman for using unacceptable definitions of success in finding work for job seekers.
It also said the board counted graduates as being employed even if they resigned after one day of work.
The Audit Commission found some Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients had been overpaid by the Government as they did not report their training allowances, which are treated as income and should be deducted from CSSA payments.
From June last year to February this year, 2,112 out of a total of 22,935 full-time retrainees also received CSSA payments. A survey of 105 recipients found that 41 did not report the retraining allowance.