Gear up for a tough market, by degree
UNIVERSITY DEGREES WERE once the reserve of the elite, but today they are a standard requirement for relatively junior positions. Anyone without the right qualifications will find themselves at a serious disadvantage in today's job market.
In his 2000 policy address, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa set a target of 60 per cent of school leavers having access to post-secondary education by 2010. Attendance figures in universities are increasing and the number of people attaining degrees part time is going up.
While this is creating a more dynamic working environment and improves Hong Kong's competitiveness as a service centre, it also increases the pressure on today's workers to keep raising their level of education.
Leaving school and entering the workplace no longer means an end to your days in the classroom.
For those who think of a full university degree as too daunting a prospect, there are various sub-degree qualifications available. Associate degrees, higher diplomas and professional diplomas are recognised by employers as qualifications that demonstrate committed, valuable workers with drive to learn new skills and better themselves.
These qualifications can often serve as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree. Many universities allow holders of associate degrees to transfer credits from their previous course, reducing the amount of time it will take to attain a full degree.
Education is a growth industry at the moment, with attendances increasing dramatically since the government launched the Continuing Education Fund in May 2002. The fund allows students of authorised programmes to reclaim 80 per cent of their course fees, up to a maximum of $10,000.
The fund's eligibility criteria has recently been extended to include people who already have a degree. It was announced last month that subjects related to creative industries would also qualify.
As the number of courses available continues to increase, the prospects for education look exceedingly bright.