Hong Kong airport scours the globe for top-calibre staff to maintain its standing as the world's best Hong Kong is aiming to maintain its status as having the 'world's best' airport, striving to improve its efficiency and professionalism. In July last year, the Hong Kong International Airport was voted the best airport in the world for the seventh time by Skytrax, a British-based independent consultancy which handles aviation research. The awards were based on surveys of passengers from around the world. To maintain its world No1 status, the Airport Authority is continuously nurturing professionals with its management trainee programme, which started in 2005. 'We have a mission and corporate social responsibility,' said Anna Lo, general manager of human resources and administration at the Airport Authority. 'Making money is not our main target, we are serving the Hong Kong public, helping to foster its international status and strengthen its competitive edge.' The programme recruits final-year university students and those with one to two years of work experience from Hong Kong, the mainland and overseas. There were about 2,000 applications last year. After a selection process, comprising a written test, group interviews and panel interviews, the company offered positions to two candidates. This year, the programme will recruit four to five trainees. Ms Lo said they were looking for applicants with outstanding academic results, leadership and other relevant abilities. During the selection process, English language skills, analytical abilities and communication skills of candidates will be assessed. 'In the panel interviews, we'll see if they are proactive,' she said. 'One of the challenges of being a management trainee is that they need the initiative to [want to] learn. We'll teach them skills on the programme.' Candidates should show a passion for the industry. 'Aviation is a very special industry,' she said. 'It demands accuracy, safety, good services and reliability. It really takes time to nurture a talent with all these abilities and experience, so it's important that they do have a passion for the aviation industry.' Every management trainee will go through a two-year training scheme once they join the company. In the first four months, they will undergo corporate orientation to learn about the business, management philosophies, values, culture and goals of the airport. Employees will then undergo 20 months of on-the-job training, rotating between departments under the guidance of senior managers. There will be action learning assignments to help them understand the business and daily operations of the airport. The company hopes to train employees and help with their career development by moving staff around. Management trainee Gigi Chong Po-chi, who joined the programme in 2006, said she applied because the well-structured scheme offered employees dynamic work experiences. Over the past couple of years, she has been assigned to the retail and advertising department, and different teams in the terminal such as leasing and estate management and airfield, and the corporate office. 'We rotate to a new department every three to four months,' said Ms Chong, a business administration graduate from Chinese University. 'We need to pick up new skills and get familiar with the environment and people very quickly. It's very challenging.' She also appreciates the communication sessions with senior management. 'They have not just taught us technical skills, but also some practical tips,' Ms Chong said. After completing the training, the company carries out a career assessment with the graduates and offers them the most appropriate position according to their abilities, preferences and interests. 'They can either proceed to be general managers or go in to the professional stream [involving positions] such as technical services, information technology, human resources and corporate communications,' Ms Lo said. Debbie Poon Tak-yan, another management trainee and a University of Science and Technology graduate, thinks the diversified and comprehensive trainee programme is equipping her with a wide knowledge. 'The aviation industry is important to Hong Kong and I think it has a great future,' she said. 'I really like the working environment where I can interact with customers every day. The connection with people is a motivation for me, driving me to learn more about airport management.' This is the final article for Management Training.