Fostering future aviation careers

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With Hong Kong International Airport’s Three Runway System expected to be completed by 2024, the demand for aviation talent is taking off.

To fulfil this need for talent, the Vocational Training Council, in conjunction with the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy, has expanded its Earn & Learn Scheme to cover the aviation industry.

Students taking part in the scheme are able to study for the Diploma of Foundation Studies in aviation and work in the industry at the same time.

Hong Kong International Aviation Academy Marketing & Partnership Director Tommy Lai noted there is a strong demand for aviation talents.

Currently there are 73,000 people working at the airport, Mr Lai said, adding this figure is expected to go up to 123,000 by 2030.

“Youngsters can take part in airport management, operations, security, cargo logistics, aircraft catering and aircraft maintenance.”

Smart learning

After finishing his Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams, Lee Zen-hei worked as a salesperson until he found out about the Earn & Learn Scheme.

He is now working as a Passenger Services Agent at the airport and goes to the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education Tsing Yi campus once a week for classes on aviation.

“On my working days, I usually help passengers to check in and arrange seats and also check in baggage.

“In the Diploma of Foundation Studies in aviation, I can learn about the operation of the airport.”

Fellow student Soong Chun-hung also joined the Earn & Learn Scheme in aviation.

He works as a Terminal Service Operator and attends classes once a week.

“I mainly deal with logistics paperwork. For example, I check the Strategic Commodities Licences and transition permits for cargo. The VTC Earn & Learn Scheme provides language and communication skill training with aviation terms, allowing me to communicate with people working in the field.”

Students under the scheme receive training for two years. Their employers are responsible for the course fee.

They also receive a total subsidy of $30,800 from their employers and an allowance of up to $42,000 from the Government, plus a guaranteed monthly salary of at least $8,000.

Starting from the 2019 academic year, the allowance from the Government for new participants will be increased to $54,000.

Professional pathways

Vocational Training Council Headquarters (Industry Partnership) Assistant Executive Director Iu King-fung said the programme covers a wide range of areas in the industry, including aviation services, cargo operations and ground handling operations.

He said: “There are generic modules in the programme that help students to upgrade their language ability and communication skills, which will help them to work in the industry.”

Mr Iu added a facility which simulates airport operations at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education Tsing Yi campus helps students prepare for working at the airport.

Participating students will be able to learn more effectively and work efficiently, he said.

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