Through the efforts of various industry bodies such as the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, The Maritime Industry Council and the Marine Department there has been a revival in interest in a career at sea, or shore-based services, among Hong Kong’s youth.
Aviation and Maritime Transport Training Fund
Key to this resurgence in interest was the introduction in 2014 of the Aviation and Maritime Transport Training Fund a HK$100m training fund to attract young people to enroll in related skills training.
Prior to the new Fund the government was already running five maritime training incentive and scholarship schemes in collaboration with local education institutions/universities. Two of the schemes are aimed at subsidizing sea cadets as they acquire seafaring experience and training workers to acquire skills for ship repair. The remaining three are scholarship schemes run in collaboration with three local universities in professional training in law and maritime programmes.
The schemes include:
- The Sea-going Training Incentive Scheme (introduced 2004);
- The Ship Repair Training Incentive Scheme (introduced 2006);
- The Hong Kong Maritime and Logistics Scholarship (introduced 2007);
- The University of Hong Kong – Dalian Maritime University Academic Collaboration Scheme (introduced 2008);
- The Hong Kong Maritime Law Scholarship (introduced 2010)
As of the end of 2013 a total of 270 sea cadets, 152 workers for ship repair and 580 university students and in-service practitioners have benefitted from the schemes.
Enhancement and augmentation
It is the aim of the AMTT Fund to build upon the schemes already in place and offer further programmes. Enhancement of the existing schemes is to be achieved by the raising of the monthly subsidy offered to sea cadets under SGTIS to $6,000 from the current $5,000;
To provide the opportunity for overseas learning and exposure for students of the two postgraduate programmes under the Hong Kong Maritime Law Scholarship Scheme and the Hong Kong Maritime and Logistics Scholarship Scheme; and academic collaboration with the Shanghai Maritime University.
The estimated cost of these enhancements over a five-year period has been estimated at around $40m.
Among the new initiatives are:
- Support for professional training of in-service practitioners in both maritime and aviation sectors, including the local vessel seafarers
- Early exposure for university students to maritime – and aviation-related jobs through an Internship Network;
- Overseas learning opportunities for undergraduates of selected maritime-related disciplines;
- Financial incentive for young people to acquire the first professional qualification as coxswains or engine operators on local vessels;
- New promotion initiatives
The estimated cost for these new initiatives and others in the aviation sector is expected to be around $60m over five years.
Maritime Services Training Institute
A central pillar in Hong Kong’s training schemes is the Maritime Services Training Institute, which operates under the auspices of the VTC and offers both full-time and part-time courses. The MSTI offers more than 30 part-time courses from basic training in oil and chemical tanker operations to shipboard crane operators’ training. There are two full-time courses, the Higher Diploma in Maritime Studies, which is a two-year programme. The Certificate for Junior General purpose Ratings takes 23 weeks to complete.
To assure the quality of its training and to meet international requirements for maritime education and training institute, the MSTI has developed its Quality Management System (QMS) and implemented it since 1998.