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Youth I.D.E.A.S. 01

Employment and Economic Development

The Opportunities of Vocational Training for

Youth Employment

30th July, 2015

There is a strong demand for staffing in Hong Kong.  According to a paper from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government, entitled “Manpower Projection”, there is an expected labour shortfall by 120,000 in 2022. 

Other local surveys also show a severe labour shortage of professional and technical personnel in specific industries, especially construction and health care.  This situation is unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future.  What makes this situation even more difficult is that many young people are having difficulties in finding jobs to fit their ability and skills levels on completion of their schooling. Some have argued that this is because young people themselves are not selecting the right types of training to gain employment. 

The fact of the matter is that young people in Hong Kong are not that enthusiastic about vocational education. Even those young people, who fail to get into university, prefer to look for something academically orientated, rather than seeking professional qualifications or technical skills training. This then lessens their employability prospects.    

For the benefit of long-term economic development, it is necessary, therefore, for Hong Kong to make more efforts in implementing human resources training to enable young people to start preparing early for future employment and realise their full potential.

This Study focuses on Vocational Education which offers specific technical skills training to young people in order for them to obtain professional qualifications.  The target group is young people aged between 14 and 25, an appropriate age to step on the professional ladder. By understanding the considerations behind their choice of education or training, along with their views on vocational education, this Study explores whether how to open up opportunities for youth employability. 

The Study uses an online survey and focus groups to investigate the reasons why young people choose different types of education or training, their views on technical opportunities and their opinions on vocational education.  In addition, experts and scholars are interviewed on their assessments in developing vocational education, while also discussing the staffing requirements in Hong Kong.

Key Findings and Recommendations
Finding I:

Young people put excessive emphasis on going to university while overlooking the diverse range of study and training options available. They also have prejudices and misconceptions about vocational education which discourage them from choosing such programmes.


  • Set up a “Matching Fund for Vocational Education” to encourage employers to subsidise their employees to enrol in tertiary vocational education programmes and provide opportunities for technical staff to engage in further study.
  • Provide more information on the diversity of education and employment opportunities to secondary school students, parents and teachers.
  • The government, industrial sector and training institutes should allocate resources to enhancing the image of certain industries and promote their professionalism.

Finding II:

The QF has not received enough attention from employers and its adoption and recognition is not yet widespread.


  • Promote the QF and speed up the development of SCS and the implementation of the RPL mechanism. Require employers to specify the QF level of jobs when they place recruitment advertisements with the Labour Department.

Finding III:

The self-financed sub-degree programmes offered by tertiary institutes tend to be academically oriented which may reduce young people’s opportunities to choose vocationally oriented programmes.

  • Provide incentives for tertiary institutes to offer vocational education programmes, given the higher running costs. This should include extending the coverage of disciplines and levels of programmes subsidised by the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP).


New Arrival


Journal of Youth Studies
January 2017

Volume 20 . Issue No. 1

Serial No. 39

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