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Exam results aren’t everything ... how vocational training led this Hongkonger to career success

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Teenagers who do not fare well in one examination can still carve out a good career if they are given the right opportunities, according to Professor Ronald Chung Chi-kit, deputy executive director of the Vocational Training Council.

His comments came a week ahead of the release of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (DSE) results.

Benny Hui Kwai-ping, 26, is one such example. After completing his Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination several years ago, Hui decided that academic study was not his cup of tea and opted to pursue vocational training.

“My results were not outstanding. I felt that even if I could eventually get into university, I would barely make the cut,” he said.

With an interest and talent in information technology – having won a robotics competition in secondary school – and a clear vision that the future lay in the industry, Hui obtained a Higher Diploma in Information Technology for Business at the Institute of Vocational Education in Sha Tin in 2013.

He said the course allowed him to learn not only about topics related to information technology, such as network security, but also subjects like business, which proved to be useful for his career.

Upon graduation, he participated in a graduate scheme jointly organised by VTC and the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, which gave him the opportunity to be a trainee in two companies over two years.

Hui was first posted to Cathay Pacific as a network engineer trainee, where he got to work in areas such as end user request support as well as network and security.

After a year, he was supposed to continue his trainee scheme at another company, but Cathay offered him a job, with a pay increment of 50 to 60 per cent.

Hui declined in order to take up an offer from another company with an even larger raise of 60 to 70 per cent.

“As a fresh graduate, I felt that it was more important to learn different skills and knowledge than to stay in the same job,” Hui said.

A few months later, he got another raise after a different company approached him with an even better job offer.

In just three years, Hui was promoted three or four times, and his monthly salary doubled to around HK$20,000. He attributed this to the education he received at the vocational school as well as his firm belief in the power of information technology in an increasingly digitised world.

Hui now works as a network support analyst. His responsibilities go beyond handling end user request support issues to include analysing, planning and budgeting.

The VTC will be holding a week-long Central Admission Scheme at its campuses for on-the-spot applications after the release of DSE results next Wednesday.

A wide range of programmes in vocational and professional education is on offer, including about 140 programmes leading to the award of degree, higher diploma, diploma of foundation studies and diploma of vocational education qualifications. Applications are open until July 18.

For the next academic year, VTC will provide more than 18,000 places across its degree, higher diploma, diploma of foundation studies and diploma of vocational education programmes, including three new programmes – the bachelor of science (honours) in surveying, bachelor of arts (honours) in retail management and bachelor of science (honours) in information and communications technology.

Besides the current six Technological and Higher Education Institute (THEi) programmes covered by the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors, a new programme – the bachelor of arts (honours) in horticulture and landscape management – will be available under the scheme, bringing the number of subsidised places to 310, 30 more than last year.



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