As Hong Kong confronts the problem of ageing population, there are worries that the city could see a serious shortage of skilled workers, including electromechanical technicians who the public depend on for vital services.
Amid these concerns, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has outlined some steps to alleviate the potential problem in its sector.
The department’s director, Frank Chan Fan, said on Tuesday that it aims to encourage more young men to take up careers in electrical and mechanical services.
Efforts will be stepped up to train the youth and help them become qualified technicians, Chan said, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
Pointing out that about half the current 220,000 electromechanical technicians in the city are aged 50 and above, the official said it is essential to step up training of a new generation of technicians.
Chan said a decline in the number of technicians specializing in repairing and maintaining elevators and vehicles is especially worrisome.
Data show that about 100 elevator technicians retire each year, against the 75 that can be newly added through training provided by the Vocational Training Council.
Meanwhile, in auto services, we have a situation where there are less than 10,000 mechanics to take care of 740,000 cars, Chan said.
Against this backdrop, the EMSD allocated HK$600 million last year to fund a program that will recruit and train nearly 1,000 Level 1 and level 2 technician trainees over the next five years.
The trainees will get the opportunity to work side by side with experienced technicians.
The program’s latest round of recruitment is set to begin on January 17, aiming to take in 200 people.
The recruits will earn between HK$9,000 and HK$11,000 a month during the training period that will last 3-4 years.
Once they pass the exams and work with the EMSD, they will get a starting salary as high as HK$20,060.
Hussain Malik Wajed, 26, a Hong Kong-born Pakistani who is now in his second year as a technician trainee recruited by the EMSD, told news website hk01.com that he sees good prospects in the profession, given that all machinery wears down as time goes by and needs repair or maintenance.
Wajed, who speaks fluent Cantonese and English, said the training program has helped him find a new direction in life.
As one of the only two trainees from ethnic minority groups, his primary objective now is to become a technician working for the EMSD after graduation in August next year and use his professional knowledge to make a contribution to the society, he said.
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