College to help helps make HK tick
A NEW college just 18 months old has all the 'muscle' it needs to fulfil its commitment to help fill the employment void caused by the 1997 brain drain.
With its strong links to local industry and powered by an experienced and dedicated staff, the Hong Kong Technical College in Tsing Yi is ready to do its bit for industrial Hong Kong.
Speaking at the college's first open day last week, vice-principal Dr Derek Boardman said the emphasis was on a training that allowed students to work upon graduation.
'The college is part of the Vocational Training Council (VTC), and all the courses are designed to meet the needs of Hong Kong employers. To put it simply, the students are trained to take up jobs rather than pushed to continue their education,' Dr Boardman said.
Each of the college's seven departments has an advisory board, made up mainly of industrialists from outside and academics from the college. The boards directly relay the job needs of local industry to the college, which promptly adjusts the curricula accordingly.
Dr Boardman said that even though Hong Kong's manufacturing industry appeared to be in decline, there was a 'huge back-up' from the mainland.
'It would appear that the construction industry is faring better than the manufacturing industry. But Hong Kong's connection with the mainland calls for more and more manufacturing workers.' The college is looking forward to 1997 in a bid to build stronger links with China.
Its first batch of graduates will join Hong Kong's work force in June next year, after completing a three-year training.
The school offers 18 full-time higher diploma courses, such as civil engineering, structural engineering and transport studies. Part-time (both day and evening) courses are provided for working people like civil servants and registered apprentices.
The college now has 1,660 full-time students and over 3,600 part-time students.
'Most of the courses have been transferred by the two former polytechnics, but the syllabuses and curricula need updating in order to relate them to today's industry,' Mr Boardman said.
The college has set up its own courses, such as graphic design and industrial design, and some in business administration and computers.
To accredit the courses, the VTC evaluates and monitors the college and advises on course upgrading.
Professional bodies such as the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers are responsible for accreditation in the occupational aspect, which includes assessing curricula, practical contents of courses, student projects, links with industry and quality of teaching staff.
Of the 353-strong staff, 150 are academic staff, all holding a degree and having a minimum of three years' industrial experience.
'There is not much of a problem recruiting staff thus qualified, because the majority of the teaching staff are Hong Kong-born, although many of them have worked overseas.' About 15 staff members are expatriates from Canada, England and Singapore.
Although the college was set up only 18 months ago, 80 per cent of its facilities are complete. The 370 computers installed are linked up to the DEC Pathworks protocol network; specialist units for Computer Aided Design are available.
Similarly, the Hong Kong Technical College (Wan Chai) is also part of the VTC and provides higher diploma and higher certificate courses. It will hold an open day next month.
Some of the students, like Ben Kwok Wai-bun, a second year student taking a Higher Diploma in Transport Studies, are already using their newly-acquired knowledge and skills in their summer jobs.
'I worked in a trading firm, and the logistics I learnt in school came in very handy,' Ben said.