The irony behind the statistics released by the Hong Kong Council of Society Service about Hong Kong's under-educated workers is that they come at a time when the SAR is suffering from a labour shortage. Because there was no compulsory education at secondary level 20 years ago, many children left school before they had a chance to learn. An astonishing 60 per cent of the workforce are said to have received no education beyond Form Three. This group is very much at a disadvantage as Hong Kong changes to a service economy. The thrust today is towards a highly educated workforce who can bolster the value-added services the city offers. But, at the same time, the pace of development is such that there is plenty of work in the construction industry, where employers claim the only answer to the current shortfall in semi-skilled tradesman is imported labour. Some trades in the building industry are said to be so undermanned that pay has increased by 40 per cent in the past year. Only a small section of those affected will be eligible, or would wish to work in construction, but this is a relevant illustration of the law of supply and demand. Employers from any section of industry who have difficulty in recruiting may be willing to help fund training schemes which produce the labour force they seek. Ideally, an adult education programme should be launched to offer this group the opportunities they did not get as children. There is no link between the lack of education and intelligence, and those who were deprived of a proper start will include some of the brightest. The Government should examine the feasibility of such a programme. The cost would be more than offset by the productive workforce it helped create.