LCQ3: Maritime and Aviation Training Fund


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is a question by the Hon Luk Chung-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (May 17):
 
Question:
 
     In 2014, the Government established the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund (the Fund) with an allocation of $100 million to subsidise young students and working persons to receive relevant technical training and undertake professional degree programmes and join the maritime and aviation industries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
 
(1) whether it has assessed the manpower supply and demand situations of the maritime and aviation industries in each of the past five years and coming five years; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
 
(2) of the respective numbers of students and working persons subsidised by the Fund each year since the establishment of the Fund, and among them, the respective numbers of those who were employed by the maritime and aviation industries upon completion of the relevant programmes or the relevant training, with a breakdown by post;
 
(3) of the measures currently implemented by the authorities for the purpose of nurturing talents for the maritime and aviation industries through the Fund; and
 
(4) whether it will adopt measures to encourage employers of the maritime and aviation industries to employ those persons who have been subsidised by the Fund, for example, making it mandatory that a certain number of crew members employed to work on a ship registered in Hong Kong must be locally trained, in order to safeguard the employment opportunities of local talents; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
 
Reply:
 
President,
 
     To nurture talents to support the long-term development of the maritime and aviation industries, the Government established the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund (MATF) with a commitment of $100 million in April 2014. The Fund seeks to assist and encourage young students and practitioners of the maritime and aviation sectors to receive maritime or aviation education and training, thereby enhancing the overall competitiveness and professional competency of the industries.

A number of training and incentive schemes covering various aviation and maritime sectors have been launched under MATF.
 
     Our reply to the four-part question raised by the Hon Luk Chung-hung's question is as follows:
 
(1) According to the results of the "General Household Survey" and "Quarterly Survey of Employment and Vacancies" conducted by the Census and Statistics Department, the overall employment situation in the maritime (including port) and aviation industries in the past five years (Note 1) are as follows:
 
Year Overall Employment
Maritime/Port Aviation Total
2011 97 000 49 710 146 710
2012 92 300 52 710 145 010
2013 92 100 55 420 147 520
2014 93 300 57 740 151 040
2015 88 400 59 370 147 770

     As regards projected manpower requirements, the "Report on Manpower Projection to 2022" compiled by the Labour and Welfare Bureau in 2015 roughly estimated that the projected manpower requirements of the freight transportation industry (Note 2) (covering the maritime, aviation and land transport trades) would increase by 0.1 per cent on average per annum between 2012 and 2022, amounting to approximately 164 800 people to around 165 600. We do not have breakdown for the maritime and aviation sectors.
 
(2) and (3) Since its inception in April 2014, MATF has launched a total of 11 maritime and aviation-related funding and scholarship schemes to encourage workers, in particular the younger generation, to pursue careers in maritime or aviation sectors.  Details of the funding schemes are at Annex. The number of beneficiaries is set out below: 
 
Financial Year Student In-service Practitioner
2014-15 360 272
2015-16 402 458
2016-17 406 1 183

     The Government does not have statistics on the number of the above beneficiaries who joined the maritime or aviation industries after completing the training programmes.

That said, some MATF schemes are applicable for in-service practitioners of the maritime and aviation industries only. Besides, students who are awarded scholarships to pursue maritime or aviation-related bachelor or master degree programmes are required to work in the maritime or aviation industries for one year after graduation. According to surveys conducted by the tertiary institutions concerned, in 2016, about 55 per cent of the beneficiaries continued to serve in the maritime or aviation industries in Hong Kong after completing the one-year mandatory service period.
 
(4) For the continuous development of the maritime industry in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Shipping Register (HKSR) welcomes vessels from overseas countries to register in Hong Kong.

At present, HKSR ranks fourth in the world in terms of gross tonnage. Similar to other top ranking flag States (such as Panama, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Singapore, etc.) which do not impose nationality requirements on crew members, HKSR does not require its registered ships to employ locally trained personnel, in order to continually attract overseas and Mainland shipowners to register their ships with Hong Kong.
 
     To enhance the employment opportunities of local talents, on maritime front, the Government has been encouraging local shipowners and shipping companies to employ graduates trained in Hong Kong through various channels, including regular meetings between the Marine Department and the maritime industry. On aviation front, the Government has been also encouraging local aircraft maintenance companies/organisations through educational institutions to employ students who have completed specialised aircraft maintenance programmes, thereby attracting more new blood and promote the sustainable development of the aircraft maintenance industry.

In fact, the employment prospect of the local maritime and aviation professionals has been good, and there are keen demands for local talents in both sectors. On the other hand, the current priority is to attract more local talents to join the maritime and aviation industries through MATF and other initiatives.
 
Note 1: Figures for 2016 are not yet available.
 
Note 2: Freight transportation industry includes freight transport by road, transport by tractors and loading and unloading of luggage or freight during land transport; and ship agents and managers, local representative offices of overseas shipping companies, ship owners and operators of sea-going freight vessels, and freight vessels moving between Hong Kong and the ports in Pearl River Delta, inland freight water transport, and service activities incidental to freight water transportation. It also includes air transport (freight) and service activities incidental to air transportation, as well as other transportation support activities.



Published on: 2017-05-17

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