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New Professional Career Pathway for Youths in Hong Kong: CLP Power Academy lights the way
  • <p>“Digital technology, artificial intelligence, big data, IoT—have real applications for our industry and the young talents entering the industry will be the pioneers of these technologies.”</p>
  • <p>“Digital technology, artificial intelligence, big data, IoT—have real applications for our industry and the young talents entering the industry will be the pioneers of these technologies.”</p>

“Digital technology, artificial intelligence, big data, IoT—have real applications for our industry and the young talents entering the industry will be the pioneers of these technologies.”

Nov 2018

In December of 2016, the Government revealed its plan to develop Hong Kong into a world-class Smart City. The key aims of this transformation are to improve the connectivity, efficiency and environment of Hong Kong by leveraging advances in digital information technology and data collection. As Hong Kong continues to grow, there are increasing demands on energy which is critical to all aspects of the city’s development. To facilitate the power industry adapting with the times requires leaders with vision. One such leader with the experience and insight to guide the way is Ir Paul Poon. With over 38 years’ experience in the power industry, Ir Poon has been with CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP) since 1981 and served as their Managing Director for four years. Consolidating his experience and insight, Ir Poon led CLP in an exciting initiative— the establishment of the CLP Power Academy, to prepare CLP for the challenges of the future.

Ir Poon, who is now the Vice Chancellor of CLP Power Academy emphasised the aim of the Academy: To better meet the engineering requirements of CLP and the demand for professional engineers, technicians and tradespeople for the power sector. At the same time, the Academy also provides secondary school leavers, who do not possess a formal degree qualification, a unique upwardly-mobile career path in the engineering industry.

“We all recognise the importance of electricity in our daily lives—almost everything begins with electricity. If you look at Hong Kong’s future plan, there is a lot of infrastructure being developed—the Belt and Road Initiative, the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, the third runway and for CLP we have a new gas-fired generation unit. Those electrical and mechanical infrastructure projects require ongoing maintenance. We need adequate qualified talent to perform these essential ongoing maintenance works. In other words, there are lots of career development opportunities for our youth.”stated Ir Poon.

CLP has been conducting in-house training for over 50 years, Ir Poon realised that establishing the CLP Power Academy was also an opportunity to stabilise the supply of the ‘right people’ in engineering and provide talents with the ‘right choices’ for career development. Ir Poon explained, “When we established the Academy we saw an opportunity to provide secondary school leavers—who do not possess a formal degree qualification—an upward mobility path for them to develop decent careers in the engineering industry. We have created a learning platform to facilitate their growth into valuable and much sought-after engineering professionals. This provides young people with a chance to develop their careers and at the same time it helps to strengthen the talent pool of the power industry – a win-win situation for both parties”.

In close collaboration with VTC, the Academy successfully launched their first professional development programme, Professional Diploma in Engineering, in October 2017, following its establishment in the second half of 2017. The first cohort will graduate in December 2018 with a qualification equivalent to QF Level 4. The response has been overwhelming for the Academy—initially planned for 40 places, the first tranche has already attracted over 170 applications.”

Ir Poon noted, “Following this encouraging start, we are launching the Diploma of Power Engineering with VTC in the October 2018. The programme is aimed at Secondary 3 school leavers who are without electrical and mechanical experience. The response has been incredible and so far we have received over 190 applications.” Graduates could become tradesmen for low voltage electrical equipment, installation and systems. After accumulating the required experience, they could register as ‘REW Grade A’.

Ir Poon commented, “It was a wise decision to partner with VTC—we share the same goal and, so far, it has been an excellent exercise in cooperation. Both CLP and VTC have their own unique values to contribute to the process—CLP has the industry experience, equipment and world-class facilities, while VTC has the expertise in delivering learning and development programmes as well as an internationally-recognised accreditation process. So by coming together, we benefit from the best of both organisations instead of trying to duplicate each other.”

Keeping pace with the latest technology, the VTC and CLP have also jointly developed Virtual Reality (VR) training packages. Ir Poon explained, “The CLP Power Academy has adopted Virtual Reality (VR) to provide zero-risk training through the simulated experience of transmission tower climbing and overhead line maintenance work.” VR training eliminates any dangerous electrical aspect or height challenges that a candidate would normally be exposed to until they are ready for on-site training. Ir Poon reflected, “It’s an incredibly exciting example of the new technology being implemented in the training of power industry personnel. Digital technology, artificial intelligence, big data, IoT—have real applications for our industry and the young talents entering the industry will be the pioneers of these technologies.”

It is true that the world is moving faster than ever before with technological advancement. However, technology alone is not enough without having the right people to harness it. Ir Poon concluded with a final message, “So my advice to young people is that if you want a career with stability and the opportunity to be exposed to exciting new technologies and their real-world applications—you should strongly consider joining the power industry. It is a career path of constant upskilling and cutting-edge technology. Above all you should keep in mind that this is not just a job, you must have the attitude and enthusiasm to serve your community. Join us in harnessing this technology as we light the way for all of Hong Kong.”

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