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Industrial Attachment Programme: Cornerstone of success of IVE students
Dec 2014

A successful career, just like Rome, is not built in one day. Apart from academic studies, getting hands-on experience is an essential building block, especially for young people who are about to enter the professional world. Tasked with nurturing talents for a variety of professions, IVE has been running the Industrial Attachment (IA) Programme, an institute-wide internship scheme, for students of all disciplines since 2012. The programme has become a bridge linking industrial partners and IVE students.

The idea of the IA programme is not entirely new, as some of the disciplines, such as IVE Engineering, has been running a similar programme for the students for a long time. But an opportune time to mandate the IA programme throughout the institute came two years ago. “September 2012 was a milestone of the Industrial Attachment Programme because that’s when the new higher diploma programme was launched,” said Roger Lee Chee-wah, Principal of IVE (Morrison Hill). Since 2012, IVE students are required to work for at least 90 hours, which translates into two-week of full-time work, at selected industrial partners before they can graduate.

Organising an IA programme of such scale is an arduous undertaking; a lot of manpower has been devoted to finding placements from corporates and matching 10,000 students with companies. However, the IVE management believes it is well worth the effort, as it provides students with valuable experiences which cannot be gained in schools. “IVE programmes are vocation-oriented, so we have to strengthen such components in our curriculum,” said Cadbury Chan Yuet-keung, Senior Project Officer of Headquarters (Academic Services) of VTC. “Once after graduation, our students will be instantly ready to join the workforce.”

While the IA programme gives students an opportunity to put their knowledge into practice, IVE Engineering has gone further by running the “Industry-based Student Project scheme (IBSP)”. Students have to choose an industry-related topic for their final-year project under the supervision of mentors from both the company and IVE.

“During the attachment period, I was assigned to build a heat-generation simulator. I created a unique circuit board by utilizing the theories I have learnt in IVE and won the Quality Control Circle (QCC) Award,” said Lam Ming-fung, an IVE Engineering graduate who is now a technician trainee at CLP Power after the IBSP scheme. Other students said their soft skills had been greatly sharpened after the attachment programme. “I was doing a presentation of my graduation project in front of my supervisors and IVE teachers during my attachment. I was so nervous that I kept staring at my script. After the presentation, my supervisors taught me some presentation skills, including content, speaking tone and manners. All the tips were very useful and I made significant improvement in my second representation,” said Hung Hok-cheung, an IVE engineering graduate who was hired as an assistant engineer at Shiu Wing Steel after the attachment. Many students also reported that the IA Programme has helped them establish more concrete career goals, as it allowed them to get a real taste of how it is like to work in a real workplace environment.

On top of that, teachers are pleasantly surprised that students have become more mature and responsible after the IA Programme. “Maintaining good relationships with colleagues is also crucial in the workplace. So when students return to campus, their teamwork and task management skills, for example while they are doing projects together, have improved.”

The number of corporate partners of the IA Programme can best illustrate its success. As of this year, more than 1,200 companies are offering placements for IVE students, with some of them supplying multiple internship vacancies. Another indicator is the average score of students in evaluation forms completed by employers. This year, students were given a solid seven, with ten as the full mark. “It shows that employers find our students helpful,” said Mr. Lee.

Donations from corporate partners, which amounted to two million dollars last year, have been pooled to establish an Outstanding Industrial Attachment Scholarship. “Employers rated the students’ performance during the IA programme. Based on these evaluation results, we awarded scholarships to 250 top-performing students as a form of encouragement,” explained Professor Simpson Poon Ping-hong, Principal of IVE (Chai Wan).

The IA Programme has garnered wide support from the industry, as it creates a triple-win situation to students, industry and society. “The IA Programme provides a platform to meet suitable talents for the power industry and at the same time enables students to identify their career goals. During the attachment period, students are able to understand the industry workflow and the latest engineering technologies. Following the attachment, we have hired several interns for full-time positions at CLP. To conclude, it is a meaningful way to nurture future engineering talents for the engineering industry and hence a contribution to Hong Kong.” said Chow Tang-fai, Chief Operating Officer of CLP Power.

IVE’s IA Programme has entered a new stage. The staff has gone to great lengths to ensure the smooth operation of the programme, which encompasses keeping good impression of employers; ensuring professional attitude and performance among students and providing support for students and teachers. The effort is worthwhile as long as the programme can stimulate students’ personal growth and career development.

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