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Engineers play a crucial role behind world-class venue
  • <p>“The HML’s target of providing a pleasant experience for exhibitors, buyers and visitors cannot be achieved without a competent team of engineers.”</p>
  • <p>“The HML’s target of providing a pleasant experience for exhibitors, buyers and visitors cannot be achieved without a competent team of engineers.”</p>
  • <p>“The HML’s target of providing a pleasant experience for exhibitors, buyers and visitors cannot be achieved without a competent team of engineers.”</p>
  • <p>“The HML’s target of providing a pleasant experience for exhibitors, buyers and visitors cannot be achieved without a competent team of engineers.”</p>

“The HML’s target of providing a pleasant experience for exhibitors, buyers and visitors cannot be achieved without a competent team of engineers.”

Jun 2015

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) is arguably the lifeblood of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry. Apart from trade shows and international conferences, the centre attracts a lot of visitors especially during the summer, as many of us attend the Hong Kong Book Fair, the Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong and the Food Expo. The operation is supported by a team of dedicated engineers – the unsung heroes behind every successful event held at the HKCEC.

Engineers need to have professional qualification, and relevant licenses are prerequisites to landing a job. Employing more than 100 staff for eight engineering sections, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (HML) is asking for more from its engineers. Since the HKCEC hosts a variety of events including exhibitions and conferences, flexibility and quick thinking are two key qualities, as HML engineers have to suggest different solutions as sometimes organisers have specific demands, for example setting up computer networks and other technical equipment. Also, exhibitors may encounter unexpected problems during exhibitions, so engineers have to provide technical support in case of emergency.

“It is important for our staff in the Building Operations Department (BOD) to communicate well and provide quality service to our clients,” said Terry Kwan Chun-kit, the HML’s Director of Human Resources & Administration. Since the HML serves clients from all around the globe, and staff in BOD is required to have frequent contact with clients, good language skills, including English and Mandarin, are also essential.

The HML faces a common challenge: it is increasingly difficult to fill the full headcount in engineering fields. “Fewer people enter the engineering profession,” said Mr. Kwan. “But at the same time, the demand for engineers has not lessened and is actually on the rise, not only in our industry but also in Hong Kong.”

In the past, the HML rarely hired fresh graduates, but now it has devised and adopted a new approach to hire new blood. “School is a great channel, so we formed a partnership with IVE Engineering,” Mr. Kwan said. As the first step, a few students from IVE Engineering were sent to the HML to complete the Industrial Attachment Programme. One of the participants, James Cheung Chun-ting, an electronic and communication engineering graduate of IVE Engineering, were immediately hired upon graduation and the HML tailor-made a 24-month development programme, grooming him to become a qualified assistant engineer in the future.

During the development programme, Mr. Cheung will rotate to different sections in the BOD in order to gain all-rounded knowledge and experience. “Apart from different licenses, we hope that James will be able to master supervisory and project management skills,” said Mr. Kwan, who has high hopes for Mr. Cheung.

“There are lots of improvement works, including small-scale and large-scale ones, at the centre every day… So, we have to follow up on the progress. We also need to conduct inspections and arrange for contractors to assist with the works,” Mr. Cheung said. When asked about useful tips, Mr. Cheung said engineers have to be adaptable and willing to learn from experienced colleagues, and one benefits greatly from their help and guidance at work. 

Even though Mr. Cheung has not joined HML for long, he has already had some challenging yet memorable working experience. “The typhoon signal No.8 was hoisted in an evening. Being one of the emergency typhoon team members, I went back to report duty immediately. I worked with my colleagues to conduct an inspection in the building to see if there was any damage and water leak caused by the typhoon. We went around the centre and even to the roof garden at midnight under that appalling weather. Honestly, I was quite nervous since it was the first time I worked under strong wind. But I was willing to take up this challenge. As one of the members in the BOD team, maintaining our centre in good and safety condition is always our first priority.”

The HKCEC is indispensable to the city’s exhibition industry and dedicated to keeping its position as a leading exhibition venue in the region. Engineers are responsible for building maintenance, setting up equipment and machines for organisers, ensuring the logistical flow and the likes. The HML’s target of providing a pleasant experience for exhibitors, buyers and visitors cannot be achieved without a competent team of engineers.

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