Domestic helper training courses
Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (April 9):
It has been reported that the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) will substantially increase the number of places in training courses for domestic helpers (DHs) in the next financial year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of places in DH training courses offered by the training agencies of ERB, the number of trainees, the training cost and average amount of allowance for each trainee, the number and ratio of graduates who secured employment, and their average hourly pay in each of the past three years;
(b) whether it has conducted any market surveys on the demand, mode of employment and job requirements of local DHs, and whether it has drawn up the curricula and adjusted the number of training course places in the light of the survey findings in order to avoid wasting resources; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(c) as most of the local DHs are employed on part-time basis, do not live in and are therefore unable to meet the requirement of employers for full-time DHs and, furthermore, employment on part-time basis causes the local DHs to spend more on travelling expenses, which in turn results in a higher hourly rate for local DHs vis-ˆj-vis foreign DHs, whether it has measures to enhance the competitiveness of local DHs; if it has, of the details of these measures; if not, the reasons for that; and
(d) as some trainees of DH training courses take the courses only to enhance their domestic skills in order to take better care of their families and do not intend to work as DHs, whether it has set any restrictions or guidelines to prevent the above abuse; if it has, of the details of the restrictions or guidelines; if not, the reasons for that?
(a) The number of planned training places, graduate retrainees and retrainees placed into jobs after retraining, the average placement rate and the cost of domestic helper training courses offered by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) for the previous three financial years are listed in the Annex (pdf format).
With regard to the hourly rate, figures in the past three years indicated that local domestic helpers (LDHs) who had completed the retraining courses are generally paid $50 to $60 per hour, depending on various factors such as the overall economic climate, job nature and mode of work, location of work as well as employers' requirements.
(b)The ERB commissions an independent research institute to conduct labour market analysis of selected trades and industries, including domestic helpers. The aim is to obtain information on market demand asfor reference in training capacity planning. Such information is shared among all its training providers, and is discussed and analysed at the ERB's regular research and development meetings with the training providers. Besides, in working out the annual provision of training places, the ERB will take into account factors like the actual number of job vacancies it has received, the number of training places proposed by its training providers and past placement rates, etc. To ensure that the number of training places offered meets market demand, the ERB also suitably adjusts the provision of training places for individual courses quarterly in response to the latest changes in the labour market and placement outcomes.
As regards the contents of training, the ERB has conducted two employer opinion surveys to collect information about the mode of employment and job specifications for local domestic helpers. Such information helps improve the course content and training quality to suit employers' requirement.
(c) The ERB has introduced several in-depth modular training programmes to enhance the skills of LDHs who have completed a basic domestic helper training course. These programmes address special job-related requirements and enhance trainees' employability. The modules include cooking, child care and elderly care. The ERB has also set up a Course Advisory Group comprising experts from the industry. The Course Advisory Group makes regular class visits to training providers offering domestic helper training to give professional advice with regard to the training content and course delivery to ensure the quality of training. The ERB has set up a Practical Skills Training and Assessment Centre in October 2002 to administer a standard skills assessment for the retrainees of domestic helper courses. The objective is to benchmark the skills standard of retrainees and in turn enhance public recognition and the confidence of employers. In addition, the ERB also provides soft skills training to domestic helper trainees such as work attitude and development of a service culture to enhance their employability. The ERB has also launched the Integrated Scheme for Local Domestic Helpers to provide "one-stop" follow-up services for employers to encourage more employers to recruit the graduates of LDH training.
(d) The ERB has laid down clear guidelines requiring all the potential retrainees applying for full-time day courses to undergo an intake interview arranged by respective training providers. This serves to ensure that the potential retrainees have a genuine interest in the industry and are willing to enter the field before enrolment. Where there is doubt, the training provider concerned will check the enrolment and related employment records of the applicants with the ERB before deciding whether to accept the application or not. There is no existing rule to deal with cases where some retrainees do not get into employment after training. This is mainly due to the fact that whether a retrainee takes up a job depends on various factors like the economic climate, health, family conditions, other personal reasons, etc. However, past figures show that the average placement rate of graduates of domestic helper training courses is well over 80%. This shows that those who enrolled into the courses did have strong incentive to enter the labour market.
End/Wednesday, April 9, 2003