The Government, the University of Hong Kong and five industry backers have revealed plans for a technology training centre at the controversial Cyberport development in Pokfulam. The institute will be administered by the university's School of Professional and Continuing Education (Space), which plans to open the 25,000 square feet facility in summer next year. The focus will be on developing post-graduate programmes for those with technical degrees who want to update their skills, and diploma and degree programmes for non-technical graduates who wish to enter the field. Space offers similar courses at six other locations. The information technology (IT) programmes drew 7,000 students this academic year, while Space enrolled more than 100,000 students in all. F.T. Chan, head of Space's IT division, said that corporate sponsors Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle would donate software and hardware and would confer with the institute's administrators on how the curriculum should be developed. Mr Chan said: 'Our idea is that we will form an academic committee. Then we will develop course proposals which from our end will try to maintain all the academic strengths. And then we plan to invite their partnership to embed their certification process into different modules of the overall programme.' Most major vendors already offer post-graduate certification courses in places such as Hong Kong. The courses offered at the institute might or might not add up to a full certification programme on any of the vendors' technologies, he said. 'Whether it will be a complete certification of their programme will be depending on this design,' Mr Chan said. The target audience for the classes will be workers with the high-technology companies targeted as tenants by Cyberport, as well as students coming from around Hong Kong. In a nod to Cyberport's location at the western end of Hong Kong Island, Mr Chan said, many of the first courses to be offered would probably be intensive, taking up possibly one afternoon in a weekend for several weeks. The announcement ceremony for the institute was held in an unfitted floor of Cyberport 2 overlooking the harbour and the rest of the complex, which is still under construction. Cyberport is a co-development between Pacific Century CyberWorks and the Government's Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau. Controversy has dogged the project, with criticism ranging from the award of the project two years ago without public tendering to more recent fears it will be difficult to find tenants to fill the planned 1.1 million sq ft of office space. With the announcement earlier this month of Microsoft's plans to move 250 employees to Cyberport and take up 40,000 sq ft later this autumn, the first phase is 80 per cent full. A 176-room hotel operated by Le Meridien is also scheduled for completion by the end of this year, while 2,800 luxury flats should be ready by 2007. Eventually, the complex will have about 270,000 sq ft of commercial space. The Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai, speaking at yesterday's press conference, said proposals for the training centre were invited in March last year. The aim was to provide training for IT talent to meet the industry's needs and also to foster collaboration between the academic and industry communities. 'I firmly believe that the Cyberport is well placed to meet the market requirements for all,' she said. Ms Yau will be leaving her post at the bureau next month to take up a newly created ministerial post as the head of the Government's food, health and welfare programmes. Cyberport institute administrators said they expected courses to focus on networking, multimedia production, enterprise systems and project management. Space supports degree programmes in IT for overseas institutions such as the University of London, Middlesex University and Monash University. Mr Chan said Space had worked on programmes with Cisco and Oracle before, but the participation of so many vendors in one project was unusual. 'Getting them all together to do a single project, this will be the first time,' he said.