THE Employees Retraining Board should extend its scope from job retraining to career skill upgrading, according to a comprehensive consultancy report. The review, which maps out the board's strategy and future direction, also recommends its scheme should cover new immigrants from the mainland. But the board's first priority should remain in retraining and job-seeking for the unemployed. It is understood the administration is to make two legislative amendments to the Employees Retraining Ordinance. The first, relaxing entry requirements, is expected to be tabled to the Legislative Council in November, while the second, recommendations of the review, is to be gazetted early next year. A source said it was natural for the board to focus on how to improve employees' skills. He said more courses on subjects like computers and English language would be arranged between the board and private companies which want to improve their staff's abilities. But courses on improving career skills would carry charges in order to cover some of the board's costs. 'There has been strong demand within small and medium enterprises in upgrading their staff's skills. 'The board already provides some evening courses in English language and computers. The report has recommended to expand the scale. 'Courses must equip workers with marketable skills that meet the future need of the economy,' he said. But a board member said the new policy might pose a threat to some private tutorial schools since the board's programmes were more authoritative and cheaper. The source said immigrants who had been in Hong Kong for some time would be allowed to join in existing courses, while new programmes would be tailored for newcomers. But he said a steering committee overseeing the review was still considering how to make the board financially self-sufficient. Options under consideration include additional government funding, a fixed levy on employers or charging bosses of expatriates and foreign domestic helpers. The committee is also considering ways of how to improve the cost-effectiveness of the scheme. The consultancy report, conducted by Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group, is expected to be released this month.