The Employees Retraining Board will scrap a $1,000 allowance for unemployed trainees at its one-week classes starting on October 1. This is despite a 70 per cent success rate at job placements in classes for new immigrants from China. The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Joseph Wong Wing-ping, made the announcement yesterday after an Executive Council meeting which approved a series of proposals to revamp the existing employees' retraining scheme. 'If a short course can enable an unemployed person to secure a job shortly after completing the course, then the allowance seems to be unnecessary in the first place,' he said. The five-day classes provide general information on labour laws, job interview skills and what bosses expect from employees. The weekly $1,000 allowance will be kept for full-time trainees in longer classes, usually lasting five weeks. More than 300 new immigrants have studied at one-week classes since the start of February when they began to be admitted. Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Employees Retraining Board, said he hoped the scrapping of $1,000 allowance could be reviewed. Confederation of Trade Unions executive secretary Winnie Tam Pik-yan was worried that cancelling the allowance would deter potential students. 'This is not encouraging at all,' she said. She thought some retraining bodies might extend classes unnecessarily to get money. Mr Wong said the revised retraining scheme was given a $500 million injection, with a total of $276 million to be spent in the current financial year. Of this, $239 million would be spent on retraining classes for about 78,000 unemployed or underemployed people. About 14,000 of these will be new immigrants. The approved proposals include the takeover of responsibilities for specific-skill training by the Vocational Training Council from the retraining board, and the preparation of a three-year plan and a yearly business plan.