With the vision of Hong Kong developing into an international innovation and technology (I&T) hub, there will be a huge demand for research and development (R&D) talents. In order to become a part of this new generation of I&T talents, it is crucial for young people to equip themselves with academic qualifications and professional recognitions, as well as to accumulate work experience to meet the job requirements in R&D.
To provide workplace learning opportunities for more young people who are eager to develop their future career in the technology sector, the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) signed a MOU with Vocational Training Council (VTC) today (15 September). Under this MoU, they will jointly design brand-new professional diploma programmes in Microelectronics and Communications Technologies, aiming to nurture a pool of talents that matches with what the industry needs in response to the huge surge of demand for tech-ready talents brought by the development in smart products, Internet of Things (IoT), and big data. Besides, ASTRI will join the VTC Earn & Learn scheme as an employer. The scheme spans across four semesters for students taking Higher Diploma programmes from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), a member institution of VTC. During the new academic year, participating students will receive on-the-job training under the guidance from ASTRI’s experienced R&D staff, gaining hands-on experience in the industry, while receiving classroom learning provided by the school. Young people will be able to enhance their capabilities in research and development in terms of work experience and academic knowledge through the scheme, which also allows them to realise their potentials.
Societal needs towards various kinds of technology have been increasing day by day. Creativity and passion from young people have always brought new impetus to R&D sector. This collaboration between ASTRI and VTC happens with the hope of discovering more new blood to I&T sector in Hong Kong and nurturing a new generation of professional R&D talents, so as to expand the local I&T talent pool, provide the research and commercial sector with greater momentum, and keep enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong.
As the new academic year begins, the first batch of VTC students will be joining ASTRI’s four Technology Divisions, including Trust and AI Technologies, Communications Technologies, IoT Sensing and AI Technologies, and Integrated Circuits and Systems. With ASTRI’s strong atmosphere in research and development, students will learn about I&T development in Hong Kong through hands-on experience, which would deepen their understanding of R&D work, helping them to make good preparation for future studies or career. Participants will receive a basic monthly salary not less than $9,000 and an average of $2,500 government allowance. The total monthly income will be above $10,000. Participants will also receive an additional subsidy of $30,800 upon completion of the programme.
ASTRI Chairman Ir Sunny Lee Wai-Kwong, BBS, JP, said, “This collaboration sets a new milestone for ASTRI in training the new generation of R&D talents. Young people are an important drive for innovation. We, ASTRI, as the most structured technology research institute in Hong Kong, look forward to seeing the trainees joining our team. We hope that they would enrich our creativity, learn all that they can and make contribution to support Hong Kong in becoming an international I&T hub.”
ASTRI Chief Executive Officer Dr Denis Yip, emphasised the importance of continual cultivation of talents, and said, “It is our pleasure to be able to collaborate with VTC. To support Hong Kong in becoming an international I&T hub, first and foremost, there needs to be a huge amount of talents with various skillsets in order to cope with future demands in R&D. ASTRI joins VTC’s training and support scheme for the first time, aiming to encourage trainees with passion to get to know about their own strengths and realise their potentials. Upon graduation, they could either choose to become professional staff members or to further study. The scheme is good for both trainees themselves and the industry.”
VTC Chairman Mr Tony Tai, JP noted in his speech, “The VTC offers quality vocational and professional education and training (VPET) to help young people and in-service practitioners acquire industry-relevant knowledge and applied skills for professional development. To meet the demand for tech-savvy talents, the VTC has incorporated I&T elements into the curriculum, enhanced teaching and learning facilities, and more importantly, provided students with workplace learning opportunities to build a talent pool conversant with applied skills. We are delighted to sign the MoU with ASTRI today to leverage the strengths of both sides and work together to nurture I&T talents.
VTC Executive Director Mr Donald Tong, GBS said, “We thank ASTRI for supporting the VTC Earn & Learn Scheme, providing our IVE Higher Diploma students with the chance to receive on-the-job training and learn cutting-edge applied technologies at ASTRI under the coaching of scientific research experts while learning tech-related knowledge at VTC.”
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) was founded by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2000 with the mission of enhancing Hong Kong's competitiveness through applied research. ASTRI’s core R&D competence in various areas is grouped under four influential technological divisions: trusted artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, communications technologies, Internet of Things (IoT) sensing and AI technologies, as well as integrated circuits and systems. It is applied across six core areas which are Smart City, Financial Technologies, Re-Industrialisation & Intelligent Manufacturing Intelligent Manufacturing, Digital Health, Application Specific Integrated Circuits and Metaverse.
Over the years, ASTRI has nurtured a pool of research, I&T talents and received numerous international awards for its pioneering innovations as well as outstanding business and community contributions. As of 2021/22, ASTRI transferred almost 1,250 technologies to the industry and granted over 1,000 patents in the Mainland, the US, and other countries. For further information, please visit www.astri.org.
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