More than 25% of Hong Kong Government training fund has yet to be claimed.
At a joint luncheon held by Hong Kong’s Marine Department and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association on Monday, Director of Marine Maisie Cheng lamented an ongoing manpower shortage.
“One of the major concerns of the maritime industry is the problem of manpower shortage,” she said, while praising the Maritime and Aviation Fund for its role in helping to alleviate somewhat the prevailing shortage of manpower.
The MATF, a HK$100m fund established in 2014, amounts to one of the more tangible efforts on the part of the Government to create a new generation of maritime professionals. The Fund was set up for an initial five-year period running from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019.
According to the latest figures provided by the Transport and Housing Bureau the numbers of applications and beneficiaries (including student and in-service practitioner participants) as well as participating companies of individual schemes under MATF have been increasing steadily since the scheme was implemented four years ago.
By the end of 2017-18, the total number of beneficiaries sponsored through training incentives and scholarship schemes of the Fund in both maritime and aviation sectors has reached more than 5,100. The increase in the number of participants (i.e. students, in-service practitioners and companies) indicates a growing awareness of MATF among its target audience. But, since its launch in 2014 to end-March 2018, the accumulative expenditure of MATF amounts to around $48.54m, with aviation sector spent about $15.12m (around 31%) and maritime about $33.43m (around 69%). For the financial year 2018-19, the projected expenditure will be around $24.14m.
The upshot is that with less than 11 months to go there remains HK$27.32m in the coffers that is yet to be claimed. It is the nature of such funds that if monies are not pledged during the lifetime of the fund they will almost certainly be lost.
The MATF was implemented to sustain and enhance training schemes and scholarships, as well as launching new initiatives for the maritime and aviation sectors. This link: https://www.hkmpb.gov.hk/en/matf.html will connect you to the MATF dedicated page of the HKMPB website. If you think that you might benefit from MATF you are urged you to act now.