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IVE students win honours at GHMC Youth Skills Competition
  • <p>“This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was an invaluable opportunity for students and teachers to learn from each other - but it also serves as a reminder that educators around the nation are tasked with changing the traditional mentality and nurturing new generations of young, high-skilled workers.”</p>
  • <p>“This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was an invaluable opportunity for students and teachers to learn from each other - but it also serves as a reminder that educators around the nation are tasked with changing the traditional mentality and nurturing new generations of young, high-skilled workers.”</p>
  • <p>“This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was an invaluable opportunity for students and teachers to learn from each other - but it also serves as a reminder that educators around the nation are tasked with changing the traditional mentality and nurturing new generations of young, high-skilled workers.”</p>
  • <p>“This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was an invaluable opportunity for students and teachers to learn from each other - but it also serves as a reminder that educators around the nation are tasked with changing the traditional mentality and nurturing new generations of young, high-skilled workers.”</p>

“This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was an invaluable opportunity for students and teachers to learn from each other - but it also serves as a reminder that educators around the nation are tasked with changing the traditional mentality and nurturing new generations of young, high-skilled workers.”

Aug 2014

While the WorldSkills Competition will take place in Sao Paulo next summer, the IVE representatives who will be participating in the mobile robotics session had a wonderful opportunity to test their skills in October, when they competed against young technicians hailing from different parts of China in Guangzhou / Hong Kong / Macao / Chengdu (GHMC) Youth Skills Competition.

This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was a boost to the Hong Kong team - as they brought home a gold trophy in intelligent home appliances installation, a silver trophy and a medallion of excellence in mobile robotics. Even though it was a regional contest, representatives of different cities had undergone meticulous selection procedures and a full-fledged training programme.

The trio behind the win of the intelligent home appliances installation believed their key to success lay in their team spirit. “We know our duties well but won’t shy away from helping each other out,” said Wong Siu-Hei, a student majoring electrical engineering in IVE (Tsing Yi). Mr. Wong was responsible for hardware craftsmanship while his teammates, Lee Chun-him and Kwok Wing-ki, were tasked with control panel production and programming respectively. On the day of the competition, they installed appliances and adjusted different settings such as security mode, entertainment mode, and sleep mode according to the judge’s requirements in a set-up flat within six hours. The competition evaluates a myriad of factors with a high standard, such as craftsmanship of installing equipment with a tolerance of only 2mm.

Three of them had spent six months, including weekends and summer holiday, to prepare for the contest. “While my classmates went on trips, we returned to campus,” said Mr. Wong. However, the students found the competition and the training worthwhile. “If we only received the practical training at school, we wouldn’t be so familiar with the skills. For example, we are now adept at using different tools because the types of tools used in the competition are much more varied and complicated,” said Mr. Lee. Also, they found that they had become much better at time management.

The variety of benefits to students, including improved skills and personal growth, have made the GHMC Youth Skills Competition so appealing to the participating institutes from all four cities. The regional event, which has been running for eight years, can bring recognition and validation to budding technicians. Such encouragement is very much needed, as all cities, despite the different economic structures, have been experiencing difficulties of different degrees in attracting young blood to technical professions, even though the underlying causes can be different.

Macao, our sister city, has been suffering from a brain drain in the industrial sector. Apart from a social paradigm that blue-collar work is less prestigious than office work, an underdeveloped vocational training system is another extra hurdle. “There are about 60 to 70 secondary schools in Macao… However, there are only fewer than three vocational schools.” said Matthew Vong Chi-man, Associate Professor of Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Macau.

While the traditional mentality of valuing white-collar work more than technical work is still prevailing, Guangzhou finds it gradually easier to hire young people with great potentials in the industrial sector. “Income and social status of blue-collar workers have been lifting, promoting some changes in social paradigm,” said Li Xiangwei, Professor of Guangdong Industry Technical College. “Guangzhou people are believers of the market economy. If a job generates high income, the nature of the profession does not matter too much.” At technical schools in Guangzhou, teachers are required to spend a year in corporations, a measure to prevent teachers from falling out of touch with the needs and standards of the industries.

On the other hand, the Chengdu provincial government has carried out a lot of measures to encourage young people to acquire technical skills and join the workforce. “After 2005, the country started to realise the problem. Other people, including parents, students themselves also found out that something had gone wrong. There were so many university students, but still they couldn’t find any job,” said Tang Tao, Lecturer of Chengdu Technician College. In 2006, the national government promoted the idea of “high-skilled labour” in an attempt to educate the public on the distinctions between high-skilled and low-skilled labourers.

Similar to their counterparts in Guangzhou, teaching staff in Chengdu have been receiving more vigorous training to ensure teaching quality. Teachers, including Mr. Tang, spent some time in France and Germany to learn about the vocational education system. Interestingly, the Chengdu Technician College also runs a one-year internship for its soon-to-be graduates, giving them further edge in the increasingly competitive job market.

Even though Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou and Chengdu may be facing with different problems when it comes to attracting young people to be trained as technicians, all four cities need to make more effort. This year’s GHMC Youth Skills Competition was an invaluable opportunity for students and teachers to learn from each other - but it also serves as a reminder that educators around the nation are tasked with changing the traditional mentality and nurturing new generations of young, high-skilled workers.

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