The Pokfulam Skills Centre will be located in a new building later this year, enabling it to offer more vocational training for the disabled in an effort to improve their employment prospects. It is now located within the Pokfulam Training Centre Complex which houses four training units, some of which include workshops for the disabled. Pokfulam Skills Centre manager Chu Ho Ka-yin, said the new building would open in September. It will be situated in front of the Pokfulam Training Centre Complex, with a bridge to link workshops in the existing complex to the new eight-storey block. The top four floors will be dormitory accommodation, the office is on the fourth floor, and the lower floors will provide workshop space. 'Owing to the expansion, we will offer more courses for the disabled,' Mrs Chu said. 'We decided to increase the courses from seven to 16 this year, a further increase to 20 next year, and then increase the number to 25 the following year.' News of the new centre and the extra courses was released at the recent Vocational Training Council (VTC) Skills Centres' Joint Open Day which involved the Pokfulam, Kwun Tong and Tuen Mun centres. It was held at the Tuen Mun venue. Disabled trainees demonstrated technical and commercial skills. Products such as leather goods, garments, jewellery, furniture and electrical gadgets were on sale. Speakers told pupils and parents about opportunities for disabled people at VTC skills centres, technical institutes and industrial training centres. Tuen Mun Skills Centre manager Eliza Lo Chan Woon-Ching, said her centre would offer a Basic Technical Studies course from September. This one-year programme is designed to prepare trainees for the step up to study at a technical institute or industrial training centre. A flexible instructional approach - Modules of Employable Skills - is used at the three centres. This system allows trainees to progress at their own pace according to their abilities, a major consideration in vocational rehabilitation. The Tuen Mun unit was the first of its type to provide boarding facilities in order to equip trainees with independent living and social skills. See Wai, a 19-year-old studying electronics at Tuen Mun, explained the benefits: 'I used to be shy in the past, however the boarding life here enables me to improve my interpersonal skills. I learned how to get along with others and share. And it also enables me to develop self-care skills for independent living.' The skills centres provide vocational training to disabled people aged 15 and above in an attempt to equip them with employment skills; thus the majority of full-time programmes offered are at the operative or semi-skilled level. Students performing well are recommended for jobs in various sectors. The Inspector of Vocational Training for the Disabled Sector, Mr Kwok Yi-lai, said between 70 and 80 per cent of students attending the skills centres secured employment. The feedback from employers is mainly positive, he says.