Ageing society

Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung calls for more young blood in aged care and nursing

Cheung promotes a ‘desirable’ salary and clear career path as industry faces staff shortages and ageing workforce

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 8:48pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 11:09pm

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung urged Hong Kong’s young people to join the aged care and nursing industry, saying it provided a good salary and clear career path.

Writing on his blog on Saturday, the former secretary for labour and welfare said the government had always attached great importance to the development of the city’s youth.

He cited the government’s education spending of HK$74.7 billion – or 21.5 per cent of recurrent expenditure – as proof of its commitment.

Cheung’s latest blog post came after he visited an elderly home in Tai Po over the Lunar New Year, where he said he was impressed by the work of one of the young caregivers.

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“Workers in the caring industry need to build a close and trusting relationship with the elderly. It is a job with a strong sense of humanity,” he wrote.

“It is a very meaningful job as it can serve the public and contribute to the community.

“Futhermore, the basic salary is desirable, and the career advancement path is clear. It is a job that young people can consider as career.”

Aged care operators have long complained of staff shortages, an ageing workforce and no young blood willing to come on board.

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The government’s Navigation Scheme for Young Persons in Care Services, launched last year, aims to encourage young people to take up careers in the field by providing employment and training opportunities. The scheme offers a subsidised two-year course for interested youngsters.

“I am glad to see our new generation has continued the self-improvement spirit of former generations, as well as the care and love to serve the elderly,” Cheung said.

The chief secretary insisted the government was devoted to providing the city’s young people with more diversified development opportunities.