Two hundred summer internships on mainland and overseas up for grabs as Hong Kong launches pilot scheme
Government plan to nurture local talent with ‘sense of national identity’ and ‘international perspective’ involves banks, real estate firms and companies in other industries
Over 200 summer internship places with 16 Hong Kong corporations on the mainland and overseas are up for grabs with the launch of a government pilot scheme to nurture university students with “a sense of national identity” and “an international perspective”.
The scheme, which was unveiled by Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung on Friday, is currently available to Hong Kong undergraduates in year two or above.
The government said students would be able to learn about the economic and social situations at their destinations, and that it would join hands with corporations to nurture talent with “a sense of national identity, a love for Hong Kong and an international perspective”.
Chief Executive Lam Cheung Yuet-ngor used the same words in her maiden policy address last year when talking about her expectations for local youths.
The chief secretary said the internships would last for at least six weeks, and participants would have their expenses paid by for the corporations.
A total of 255 places are on offer by four banks, six real estate corporations, as well as companies in the railway, energy and insurance industries.
Those involved include MTR Corporation, the Link Reit, Sun Hung Kai Properties, CLP, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Towngas, Swire Group, Bank of China, New World Development, Henderson Land Group, Sino Group, Bank of East Asia, Hang Lung Properties, AIA and The Wharf.
Most of the positions will be on the mainland, with about 30 places in overseas destinations in Asia, Oceania and Europe such as Singapore, Thailand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The first group of interns will leave for their jobs in May.
While the government put an emphasis on innovation and technology in its recent budget, there was no mention of internships in the industry under the new scheme.
Asked about the high ratio of mainland positions to overseas ones, Cheung said not to read too much into that.
“The scheme aims to nurture young talent; it is not a politically oriented scheme,” he said. “For those going to the mainland, it is not just for a sense of national identity but also to broaden their outlook, to nurture independence of mind and also to encourage them to mix with people on the mainlandl.”
Cheung said students with financial difficulties would not be excluded from the scheme, as the corporations had agreed to pay their expenses.
AIA Group’s regional director of human resources, George Tan, said the company was looking for students with strong leadership qualities.
“We are liaising with each country to give students specific projects,” he said.
Kit Fan, head of corporate human resources at Towngas, said interns would have an edge in securing a job after graduation.
She said the company would favor students who were eager learners.
A University of Hong Kong student surnamed Wong said she was not interested in the internship programme, as the choices were limited to placements in the commercial sector, and she would be more interested in internships in neighbouring countries instead of those on the mainland.