[Sponsored Article] From a flight simulator developer to a STEM learning platform, Science Park start-ups offered a wide range of internship opportunities under NxTEC 2.0, a programme held in partnership with J.P. Morgan and Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (“HKIHRM”) to empower students with practical work experience and prepare them for future career. The collaboration matches sub-degree or vocational school students with Science Park start-ups seeking to hire and mentor interns in the summer break. “We are delighted to see the huge success of NxTEC 2.0, our joint programme with J.P. Morgan and the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM). With J.P. Morgan’s generous support and HKIHRM’s provision of HR knowledge and training for our park companies, it has created a plethora of internship opportunities for students from different disciplines to learn and thrive at Science Park,” said Dr Claudia Xu, Chief Commercial Officer, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP). “Our incubatees are also equipped with professional HR management skills that help them build solid businesses in the long run. Talent is key for us to pioneering technology and we are fully dedicated to nurturing R&D talent. We hope to inspire more students joining our vibrant I&T community, fuel the growth of our next generation of talent and continue to strengthen our local I&T ecosystem in future.” “Apart from finding funding opportunities in promising start-ups, we would like to go the extra mile by nurturing passionate and high-calibre individuals to give impetus to the sustained growth of the city’s I&T sector. We are thrilled to see that our collaboration with HKSTP enables more students from different post-secondary institutions to unleash their potential and acquire hands-on work experience through the diverse development opportunities provided. The programme is certainly conducive to the students’ future career,” said Diana Tsui, Head of Global Philanthropy, Asia Pacific, J.P. Morgan. “Through the programme, we are able to address the strong growing demand for talent in the I&T sector and facilitate the research and development and business development of tech enterprises within Science Park, creating a more dynamic I&T environment. We look forwards to having more collaboration with HKSTP in the future to further enrich the I&T talent pool and make a valuable contribution to society through technologies,” she said. Aerosim, one of the participating start-ups of the programme, is a flight training simulation platform developer at Science Park. Branden Poon, the company’s Executive Director, said start-up has to be careful on manpower planning as they could not afford to hire a big team. NxTEC 2.0 exactly tapped into the pain point of start-ups and enabled them to hire talented students to help the company with different projects based on their strengths. “One thing remarkable about the interns is that they are well trained in coding and STEM and most importantly they are very passionate about innovation, especially in the field of aviation. Their skills are important to our future growth,” said Poon. Gary Chan and Brian Wong are now working on a part-time basis after interning at the company last summer. “I’m very passionate about aviation and it’s my goal to become part of the aviation industry and a pilot in the future. I would love to work here after graduation while looking for opportunities to join a cadet pilot programme abroad afterwards,” said Chan, who is now pursuing a higher diploma in Aviation and Piloting at HKU SPACE. “This programme gave me an exciting opportunity to work in the aviation industry. Unlike traditional companies, the culture here is open and promotes creativity,” said Wong, who has helped the company develop an AI-based flight simulator platform with facial recognition that allows the system to record and analyse the performance of the pilot cadet. Dr. Leo Yeung, Founder and Managing Director of MagiCube, a Science Park incubatee focusing on STEM education, finds NxTEC 2.0 much more effective in hiring passionate fresh graduates with the right mix of skills and qualifications than traditional recruitment channels. “Last year we were introduced to more than 200 candidates interested in our company through the job matching sessions. The job fair allowed us to meet them in a short time and find the most suitable ones quickly,” he said. “The candidates I met showed genuine interest in what we are doing. They already had ideas about the kind of career they would like to pursue after graduation.” “One major benefit of giving them an internship opportunity is that it can help students discover the career they want to pursue. More importantly, internships teach students how to solve real-world problems and give them a roadmap for future learning, which is something they could not learn from class.” “Internship enables students to test their knowledge and abilities in the real world and to learn from the start-ups on how to turn innovations into disruptive businesses. It is encouraging to see some of our students were hired as part-timers following the internship due to their outstanding performance,” he said. “Different from traditional businesses, students will be joining the start-ups at the forefront of disruptive innovation. Meanwhile, they can be part of the team to overcome the challenges facing entrepreneurs. This experience is utterly valuable to their future career path.” “In order to make sure our graduates will contribute to the employers, we provide rigorous training to students to prepare them for the workforce. The feedback we have received from the employers so far has been positive, which is certainly a big shot in the arm for the students in terms of career development,” he said. HKSTP and J.P. Morgan will step up the efforts in extending continued support to sub-degree students with more internship opportunities offered in the I&T sector. NxTEC 3.0, to be launched in the coming summer, highlights a new theme of Service Learning. Students are encouraged to make use of their knowledge and experience acquired from the programme, and to provide more social services for the community in Kwun Tong.