HONG Kong Technical College (Tsing Yi) sends its first batch of graduates into the working world when they graduate in June. The final year students gave a demonstration of skills gained over the past two-and-a-half years in an open day at the college recently. It was the college's third open day. Information booths introduced the college's various high-diploma and high-certificate courses, and students from the seven departments presented projects they had been working on. The third-year students said the 'pioneering' experience of being the first batch of graduates had given them an edge that would be useful in the outside world. The technical colleges, which come under the Vocational Training Institute, stress a practical education. The curriculum is designed to give the students training and skills that are in demand in Hong Kong. Michael Poon Po-kit, a third-year Industrial Design High Diploma student, recalled his first year at the college. 'We had some initial difficulties, like not enough workshops or computer stations for us. But this was understandable as this was the first year. 'Everything was in a developing stage then, but now courses are more organised and we have the facilities, and the faculty knows how to go about making the courses better,' Michael said. He said the wide curriculum gives students a range of skills to draw on. For instance, an industrial design student can try different disciplines like computer graphics, photography and so on. Colin Woo Man-fai said there was 'no limit' to the number of study areas a student could sample. He added that as the first graduates he and his friends had gained additional skills. 'As beginners we had to learn to adapt and make the most of whatever resources we had. I think this kind of experience will come in handy later on when we are working.' Colin said he would be going in for a career in industrial design, while Michael said he would like to get involved in photo-journalism. However, current unemployment levels in Hong Kong have the students worried. They are concerned they may not be able to get good jobs. 'But this is something all Hong Kong people fear, not just fresh graduates from technical colleges,' said Fok Yin-hing, who is following a High Diploma course in Business and Computer studies. 'I hope the market will improve soon.' At last week's open day, secondary students interested in joining the college checked out the facilities such as the laboratories, the library and the gymnasium, and chatted with the present students to learn more about the college. Cheung Wing-hing, a Form Seven student in Kwun Tong, was impressed by the college's facilities but said she would like to first try getting into university. 'But I know you learn very useful practical stuff here with all the workshops and projects. This is good for jobs,' Wing-hing said.