LCQ21: Employees Retraining Board's "First-Hire-Then-Train" Pilot Scheme


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is a question by the Hon Poon Siu-ping and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (January 31):
 
Question:
 
     The EmployeesRetraining Board (ERB) has implemented the "First-Hire-Then-Train" Pilot Programme (the Pilot Programme) since 2015-2016 to assist people who are unemployed and aged 40 or above (mainly homemakers) in being appointed as care workers for elderly homes. ERB has indicated that under the Pilot Scheme, work arrangements (including working hours and leave schedule) may be modified to cater for the family commitments of trainees, and on-the-job training and other related support measures are provided for trainees during their employment to encourage them to stay in employment. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:
 
(1) in each year since the introduction of the Pilot Programme, (i) the number of participants in the Pilot Programme, (ii) the number of participants who completed the relevant training courses and became care workers for elderly homes and, among them, the number of those who still stayed in employment after the completion of the six-month placement follow-up period, as well as (iii) the number of participants in the Pilot Programme who dropped out before completing the training courses, and whether ERB has assessed the reasons for their dropping out; and
 
(2) whether ERB will review if the remuneration and fringe benefits provided for the jobs under the Pilot Programme at present are generous enough to attract people who are unemployed and aged 40 or above to work in the care industry on a long-term basis?
 
Reply:
 
President,
 
     Since 2015-16, the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) introduced the "First-Hire-Then-Train" Pilot Scheme (the Pilot Scheme) for health care industry mainly to assist middle-aged women and homemakers to land on jobs in elderly homes as care worker trainees.

Participating employers provide job vacancies with one-year employment contracts. During the one-year contract period upon employment, trainees will in parallel receive on-the-job training, including the completion of designated training courses of the ERB lasting for around half year so as to obtain five Foundation Certificates in Practical Skills for Care Worker (Part-time), and practical training in elderly homes. Employers will suitably modify the working hours and leave arrangements to cater for the family commitments of trainees, and provide support measures to encourage trainees to stay in employment.

A cumulative total of four employers have participated in the three rounds of courses for health care industry since the launch of the Pilot Scheme. My reply to the Member's question is as follows:
 
(1) The relevant statistics of the Pilot Scheme by year since its launch are set out as follows. As trainees have already been recruited by respective employers upon their enrolment in the Pilot Scheme, the ERB does not need to provide placement follow-up services when the trainees have completed relevant training courses.
 
Year Number of trainees recruited Number of trainees dropped out before completion of training courses (percentage of the number of trainees recruited) Number of trainees having completed designated training courses (percentage of the number of trainees recruited)
2015-16 25 4 (16%) 21 (84%)
2016-17 65 11 (17%) 54 (83%)
2017-18 (Note) 40 Not available yet Not available yet

     Most trainees under the Pilot Scheme have completed relevant skill training of the designated training courses.

Even if individual trainees quitted in the midst of the Pilot Scheme, they can re-enter the health care industry on their own choices anytime in the future. The ERB has also consulted participating employers of the Pilot Scheme on the reasons for trainees' departure. The main reasons include commitments to take care of family members and difficulties in adapting to the work environment and job nature, etc ., while some had secured jobs as care workers in other institutions.
 
(2) The job vacancies, employment terms, remuneration and benefits packages of the care worker trainees under the Pilot Scheme are determined by the participating employers in view of the market conditions.

The ERB noted that the salaries offered by these employers have been increasing every year since the launch of the Pilot Scheme in 2015-16. Furthermore, to encourage trainees to stay in employment, employers provide various support measures to assist trainees in work adaptation. The measures include arranging experienced mentors to provide trainees with additional on-the-job practical training, arranging designated personnel to help trainees in work and study adaptation, forming support groups to provide trainees with placement counselling or information on community services and resources, offering monetary incentives to trainees with outstanding work performance and training assessment results, etc.

The ERB regularly reviews the Pilot Scheme to ensure the fulfilment of the objective of assisting trainees to join the health care industry. 

Note: Figures as at January 15, 2018. Designated training courses are expected to finish between March and April 2018. Employment contracts between respective employers and trainees are expected to expire between December 2018 and February 2019.



Published on: 2018-01-31

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