SCMP Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Up to 50,000 have chance to undertake job training

FELIX CHAN


Up to 50,000 post-secondary Form Five graduates will be able to enrol in government job training schemes this autumn.

However, about 20,000 will have to look for jobs at a time when youth unemployment is high, officials say. The jobless rate among those aged 15 to 19 for the second quarter of this year was 22.9 per cent.

The Vocational Training Council's Institute of Vocational Education is providing 20,000 full-time and 17,000 part-time places. The Labour Department's Youth Pre-employment Training Programme will accept up to 12,000 youngsters aged between 15 and 19 in October. Of these, 4,000 will be able to take three-month, on-the-job training. The scheme provides leadership training and job search and computer skills. The Construction Industry Training Authority is offering 300 places for one year.

Assistant Commissioner for Labour Chow Tung-shan expects about 20,000 post-secondary Form Five students to join the workforce, with half of them in employment by October.

But Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions vice-chairman Poon Siu-ping disagreed, saying most would leave school but not find a job.

"This year, there are more short-term job vacancies that give some hope, but these opportunities remain limited," he said.