Applications for enrolment into technical institute technician level programmes are continuing to soar, a spokesman for the Vocational Training Council (VTC) says. 'This clearly reflects the growing popularity of vocational education courses among Secondary Five graduates,' he said. This year, 24,605 applying for post-secondary courses chose the VTC's technical institute courses as their first preference, up from 20,485 in 1997. 'There is now wider recognition of the practical value of the courses that could equip students with specific vocational skills. 'The technical institute courses are of a practical nature, relevant to job requirements and meeting market demands,' the spokesman said. The seven VTC technical institutes are offering 60 full-time technician level diploma and certificate programmes for Form Five graduates. More than 5,400 places are available. The range of subjects offered includes courses in engineering, construction, design, business and accountancy, hotel and catering, computing, child care, printing and textiles.