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Effectiveness of the training courses for prospective domestic helpers

LEGCO QUESTION NO.6

Date of sitting: 10 April 2002

Asked by: Hon. LEUNG Fu-wah

Replied by: SEM

Question:

Regarding the employment and training of local domestic helpers, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the respective numbers of registration received by the Labour Department ("LD") with respect to domestic helpers' job applications and vacancies over the past five years; and among the registered job seekers, of the number of people who have secured employment with the help of the vacancy processing service;

  2. whether LD has assessed the reasons for other registered job seekers' failure to secure employment as domestic helpers; if so, of the results; and whether LD will formulate new policies or adjust existing policies, or introduce other measures to help job seekers secure employment;

  3. with respect to domestic helpers training courses run by institutes under the Employees Retraining Board ("ERB") over the past five years, whether it knows the numbers of training places offered, students enrolled, students who have secured employment as domestic helpers upon graduation and the average level of their salary, daily working hours and job duties;

  4. whether it knows if ERB has carried out regular reviews on whether the numbers of training places and contents of the courses run by their institutes have met the needs of the market; if so, of the results of such reviews and ERB's follow-up actions; and

  5. how LD and ERB would delineate their roles and responsibilities in helping domestic helpers to secure employment; and whether there will be changes to such delineation in the future?

Reply:

Madam President:

  1. The Labour Department ("LD") began keeping detailed statistics on the employment services provided to local domestic helpers from 1998 and the figures are as follows:

      1998 1999 2000 2001
    No. of job seekers seeking domestic helper posts 3 059 5 480 5 619 6 839
    No. of domestic helper vacancies 3 665 5 002 4 865 6 974
    No. of domestic helpers placed through LD referral 1 134 2 026 1 781 2 288

  2. We believe that some of the job-seekers fail to secure employment as domestic helpers because their skills or working experience fall short of the requirement of the employers, or the employers' terms of employment are not up to the expectation of the job-seekers. To address this situation, LD will do its best to match expectations between employers and job-seekers, and where appropriate, encourage and refer job seekers to attend training courses organized by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) to enhance their skills and upgrade the quality of their services. LD also launched the following initiatives to enhance service for job seekers and employers in the domestic helper market:

    1. assigning Placement Consultants to all of the 11 Job Centres to provide job counselling, job referrals and latest market information for job seekers, enabling them to better understand the domestic helper market;

    2. assisting job seekers in compiling their personal and record of obtaining recommendations from employers, if any, so as to improve their chance of securing employment;

    3. launching a local domestic helpers webpage on the Department's Interactive Employment Service website to facilitate exchange of information between prospective employers and job seekers;

    4. setting up a Telephone Employment Service Centre to provide more convenient access to information on domestic helper vacancies in the locality, enabling interested job seekers to get the information over the phone instead of having to queue up at Job Centres in person; and

    5. setting up a Job Vacancy Processing Centre to collect recruitment details, so that prospective employers only need to call the Centre to place their local domestic helper vacancies with the Department.

  3. In response to market needs, ERB has substantially increased the number of training places for domestic helpers over the past five years. From 1997-98 to 2001-02 financial year, more than 41 000 training places have been offered for domestic helpers against an accumulative total of 67 000 enrolment applications:

    1997-98 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02
    No. of places offered 1,985 5,690 10,729 10,435 13,000
    No. of applications received 3,071 10,749 14,603 16,624 22,000*
               
    * projection for the year

    For the years from 1997-98 to 2000-01, the respective numbers of trainees who secured employment upon completion of domestic helpers training courses are as follows:

    Financial year No. of trainees having completed domestic helpers training courses No. of trainees having secured employment # No. of trainees having secured employment as domestic helpers
    1997-98 1,658 998 463
    1998-99 5,292 3,792 2,159
    1999-00 9,882 7,801 4,549
    2000-01 9,294 7,397 4,010
    2001-02 11,825* Not available Not available
           
    * projection for the year
    # Including those who secured employment irrespective of their trades

    ERB has recently conducted an opinion survey among employers of local domestic helpers. The result indicated that among the trainees who have secured employment as domestic helpers, 79% work 3 to 6 hours per day, 14% work less than 3 hours per day and 7% work 7 hours or more per day. Those who finish the training courses are generally paid $45 to $59 an hour, depending on job requirements, hours of work, working locations, etc. Regarding job duties, they are mainly employed to take charge of household cleaning (93%), followed by washing/ironing clothes (23%) and preparation of dinner (12%). Other duties include buying food, preparing lunch, baby-sitting, child and elderly care, etc.


  4. In working out the annual provision of training places and its distribution among different courses, ERB will take into consideration, inter alia, the performance of various training bodies, market demand and supply, and its annual budgetary expenditure. Taking domestic helpers training courses as an example, in response to the development potential of this job type and an increasing number of job vacancies in the trade, ERB is now providing additional domestic helpers training places to cope with market demand.

    The ERB will also suitably adjust the provision of training places for individual courses quarterly in response to the latest market situation, the performance of training bodies and the placement rate of its trainees. To help adjusting the provision of training places, the ERB Working Group on Research and Development also holds regular meetings to review the employment situation of and the demand for domestic helpers as well as workers in other trades on the basis of the vacancy information gathered by LD, ERB and various training bodies.

    As regards the contents of training courses, ERB set up the Course Steering Group on Domestic Helpers and the Trade Advisory Groups in 1999, and introduced a standardized 12-day domestic helpers training course. The Course Steering Group and the Trade Advisory Groups meet regularly to revise and update the courses with due regard to the comments of the employers and trainees. ERB also conducts user surveys from time to time in order to have a better understanding of the demand of specific trades and help develop courses to meet market needs, for example, follow-up training modules on cookery and elderly care will help improve the employment opportunities of domestic helper trainees. Besides, ERB is actively helping local domestic helpers to expand their market by introducing employer-oriented supporting services and providing one-stop follow-up services for both employers and trainees through 13 regional services centres administered by the training bodies. ERB is also stepping up publicity at the district level to promote the services of local domestic helpers to employers.

  5. In helping local domestic helpers to secure employment, LD provides job matching and job referral services for both job seekers and employers who come forward for registration. Generally, there is no restriction on the age and background of the job seekers. As to ERB, its target clients are unemployed persons aged 30 or above with junior secondary education or below. Trainees who have completed training in domestic helper skills will be entitled to a three-month follow-up package covering job matching, job referral, post-employment counselling, etc. Thus, LD and ERB serve different groups and perform different functions. Nevertheless, the two work closely together. For example, LD's placement officers will, where appropriate, encourage job seekers to attend training courses in domestic helper skills organized by ERB. The two organizations will also share information on local domestic helper vacancies. The Government has no plan to revise the delineation of their roles and functions for the time being.

Date of sitting: 10 April 2002

Asked by: Hon. LEUNG Fu-wah

Replied by: SEM

Question:

Regarding the employment and training of local domestic helpers, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the respective numbers of registration received by the Labour Department ("LD") with respect to domestic helpers' job applications and vacancies over the past five years; and among the registered job seekers, of the number of people who have secured employment with the help of the vacancy processing service;

  2. whether LD has assessed the reasons for other registered job seekers' failure to secure employment as domestic helpers; if so, of the results; and whether LD will formulate new policies or adjust existing policies, or introduce other measures to help job seekers secure employment;

  3. with respect to domestic helpers training courses run by institutes under the Employees Retraining Board ("ERB") over the past five years, whether it knows the numbers of training places offered, students enrolled, students who have secured employment as domestic helpers upon graduation and the average level of their salary, daily working hours and job duties;

  4. whether it knows if ERB has carried out regular reviews on whether the numbers of training places and contents of the courses run by their institutes have met the needs of the market; if so, of the results of such reviews and ERB's follow-up actions; and

  5. how LD and ERB would delineate their roles and responsibilities in helping domestic helpers to secure employment; and whether there will be changes to such delineation in the future?

Reply:

Madam President:

  1. The Labour Department ("LD") began keeping detailed statistics on the employment services provided to local domestic helpers from 1998 and the figures are as follows:

      1998 1999 2000 2001
    No. of job seekers seeking domestic helper posts 3 059 5 480 5 619 6 839
    No. of domestic helper vacancies 3 665 5 002 4 865 6 974
    No. of domestic helpers placed through LD referral 1 134 2 026 1 781 2 288

  2. We believe that some of the job-seekers fail to secure employment as domestic helpers because their skills or working experience fall short of the requirement of the employers, or the employers' terms of employment are not up to the expectation of the job-seekers. To address this situation, LD will do its best to match expectations between employers and job-seekers, and where appropriate, encourage and refer job seekers to attend training courses organized by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) to enhance their skills and upgrade the quality of their services. LD also launched the following initiatives to enhance service for job seekers and employers in the domestic helper market:

    1. assigning Placement Consultants to all of the 11 Job Centres to provide job counselling, job referrals and latest market information for job seekers, enabling them to better understand the domestic helper market;

    2. assisting job seekers in compiling their personal and record of obtaining recommendations from employers, if any, so as to improve their chance of securing employment;

    3. launching a local domestic helpers webpage on the Department's Interactive Employment Service website to facilitate exchange of information between prospective employers and job seekers;

    4. setting up a Telephone Employment Service Centre to provide more convenient access to information on domestic helper vacancies in the locality, enabling interested job seekers to get the information over the phone instead of having to queue up at Job Centres in person; and

    5. setting up a Job Vacancy Processing Centre to collect recruitment details, so that prospective employers only need to call the Centre to place their local domestic helper vacancies with the Department.

  3. In response to market needs, ERB has substantially increased the number of training places for domestic helpers over the past five years. From 1997-98 to 2001-02 financial year, more than 41 000 training places have been offered for domestic helpers against an accumulative total of 67 000 enrolment applications:

    1997-98 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02
    No. of places offered 1,985 5,690 10,729 10,435 13,000
    No. of applications received 3,071 10,749 14,603 16,624 22,000*
               
    * projection for the year

    For the years from 1997-98 to 2000-01, the respective numbers of trainees who secured employment upon completion of domestic helpers training courses are as follows:

    Financial year No. of trainees having completed domestic helpers training courses No. of trainees having secured employment # No. of trainees having secured employment as domestic helpers
    1997-98 1,658 998 463
    1998-99 5,292 3,792 2,159
    1999-00 9,882 7,801 4,549
    2000-01 9,294 7,397 4,010
    2001-02 11,825* Not available Not available
           
    * projection for the year
    # Including those who secured employment irrespective of their trades

    ERB has recently conducted an opinion survey among employers of local domestic helpers. The result indicated that among the trainees who have secured employment as domestic helpers, 79% work 3 to 6 hours per day, 14% work less than 3 hours per day and 7% work 7 hours or more per day. Those who finish the training courses are generally paid $45 to $59 an hour, depending on job requirements, hours of work, working locations, etc. Regarding job duties, they are mainly employed to take charge of household cleaning (93%), followed by washing/ironing clothes (23%) and preparation of dinner (12%). Other duties include buying food, preparing lunch, baby-sitting, child and elderly care, etc.


  4. In working out the annual provision of training places and its distribution among different courses, ERB will take into consideration, inter alia, the performance of various training bodies, market demand and supply, and its annual budgetary expenditure. Taking domestic helpers training courses as an example, in response to the development potential of this job type and an increasing number of job vacancies in the trade, ERB is now providing additional domestic helpers training places to cope with market demand.

    The ERB will also suitably adjust the provision of training places for individual courses quarterly in response to the latest market situation, the performance of training bodies and the placement rate of its trainees. To help adjusting the provision of training places, the ERB Working Group on Research and Development also holds regular meetings to review the employment situation of and the demand for domestic helpers as well as workers in other trades on the basis of the vacancy information gathered by LD, ERB and various training bodies.

    As regards the contents of training courses, ERB set up the Course Steering Group on Domestic Helpers and the Trade Advisory Groups in 1999, and introduced a standardized 12-day domestic helpers training course. The Course Steering Group and the Trade Advisory Groups meet regularly to revise and update the courses with due regard to the comments of the employers and trainees. ERB also conducts user surveys from time to time in order to have a better understanding of the demand of specific trades and help develop courses to meet market needs, for example, follow-up training modules on cookery and elderly care will help improve the employment opportunities of domestic helper trainees. Besides, ERB is actively helping local domestic helpers to expand their market by introducing employer-oriented supporting services and providing one-stop follow-up services for both employers and trainees through 13 regional services centres administered by the training bodies. ERB is also stepping up publicity at the district level to promote the services of local domestic helpers to employers.

  5. In helping local domestic helpers to secure employment, LD provides job matching and job referral services for both job seekers and employers who come forward for registration. Generally, there is no restriction on the age and background of the job seekers. As to ERB, its target clients are unemployed persons aged 30 or above with junior secondary education or below. Trainees who have completed training in domestic helper skills will be entitled to a three-month follow-up package covering job matching, job referral, post-employment counselling, etc. Thus, LD and ERB serve different groups and perform different functions. Nevertheless, the two work closely together. For example, LD's placement officers will, where appropriate, encourage job seekers to attend training courses in domestic helper skills organized by ERB. The two organizations will also share information on local domestic helper vacancies. The Government has no plan to revise the delineation of their roles and functions for the time being.

Date of sitting: 10 April 2002

Asked by: Hon. LEUNG Fu-wah

Replied by: SEM

Question:

Regarding the employment and training of local domestic helpers, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the respective numbers of registration received by the Labour Department ("LD") with respect to domestic helpers' job applications and vacancies over the past five years; and among the registered job seekers, of the number of people who have secured employment with the help of the vacancy processing service;

  2. whether LD has assessed the reasons for other registered job seekers' failure to secure employment as domestic helpers; if so, of the results; and whether LD will formulate new policies or adjust existing policies, or introduce other measures to help job seekers secure employment;

  3. with respect to domestic helpers training courses run by institutes under the Employees Retraining Board ("ERB") over the past five years, whether it knows the numbers of training places offered, students enrolled, students who have secured employment as domestic helpers upon graduation and the average level of their salary, daily working hours and job duties;

  4. whether it knows if ERB has carried out regular reviews on whether the numbers of training places and contents of the courses run by their institutes have met the needs of the market; if so, of the results of such reviews and ERB's follow-up actions; and

  5. how LD and ERB would delineate their roles and responsibilities in helping domestic helpers to secure employment; and whether there will be changes to such delineation in the future?

Reply:

Madam President:

  1. The Labour Department ("LD") began keeping detailed statistics on the employment services provided to local domestic helpers from 1998 and the figures are as follows:

      1998 1999 2000 2001
    No. of job seekers seeking domestic helper posts 3 059 5 480 5 619 6 839
    No. of domestic helper vacancies 3 665 5 002 4 865 6 974
    No. of domestic helpers placed through LD referral 1 134 2 026 1 781 2 288

  2. We believe that some of the job-seekers fail to secure employment as domestic helpers because their skills or working experience fall short of the requirement of the employers, or the employers' terms of employment are not up to the expectation of the job-seekers. To address this situation, LD will do its best to match expectations between employers and job-seekers, and where appropriate, encourage and refer job seekers to attend training courses organized by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) to enhance their skills and upgrade the quality of their services. LD also launched the following initiatives to enhance service for job seekers and employers in the domestic helper market:

    1. assigning Placement Consultants to all of the 11 Job Centres to provide job counselling, job referrals and latest market information for job seekers, enabling them to better understand the domestic helper market;

    2. assisting job seekers in compiling their personal and record of obtaining recommendations from employers, if any, so as to improve their chance of securing employment;

    3. launching a local domestic helpers webpage on the Department's Interactive Employment Service website to facilitate exchange of information between prospective employers and job seekers;

    4. setting up a Telephone Employment Service Centre to provide more convenient access to information on domestic helper vacancies in the locality, enabling interested job seekers to get the information over the phone instead of having to queue up at Job Centres in person; and

    5. setting up a Job Vacancy Processing Centre to collect recruitment details, so that prospective employers only need to call the Centre to place their local domestic helper vacancies with the Department.

  3. In response to market needs, ERB has substantially increased the number of training places for domestic helpers over the past five years. From 1997-98 to 2001-02 financial year, more than 41 000 training places have been offered for domestic helpers against an accumulative total of 67 000 enrolment applications:

    1997-98 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02
    No. of places offered 1,985 5,690 10,729 10,435 13,000
    No. of applications received 3,071 10,749 14,603 16,624 22,000*
               
    * projection for the year

    For the years from 1997-98 to 2000-01, the respective numbers of trainees who secured employment upon completion of domestic helpers training courses are as follows:

    Financial year No. of trainees having completed domestic helpers training courses No. of trainees having secured employment # No. of trainees having secured employment as domestic helpers
    1997-98 1,658 998 463
    1998-99 5,292 3,792 2,159
    1999-00 9,882 7,801 4,549
    2000-01 9,294 7,397 4,010
    2001-02 11,825* Not available Not available
           
    * projection for the year
    # Including those who secured employment irrespective of their trades

    ERB has recently conducted an opinion survey among employers of local domestic helpers. The result indicated that among the trainees who have secured employment as domestic helpers, 79% work 3 to 6 hours per day, 14% work less than 3 hours per day and 7% work 7 hours or more per day. Those who finish the training courses are generally paid $45 to $59 an hour, depending on job requirements, hours of work, working locations, etc. Regarding job duties, they are mainly employed to take charge of household cleaning (93%), followed by washing/ironing clothes (23%) and preparation of dinner (12%). Other duties include buying food, preparing lunch, baby-sitting, child and elderly care, etc.


  4. In working out the annual provision of training places and its distribution among different courses, ERB will take into consideration, inter alia, the performance of various training bodies, market demand and supply, and its annual budgetary expenditure. Taking domestic helpers training courses as an example, in response to the development potential of this job type and an increasing number of job vacancies in the trade, ERB is now providing additional domestic helpers training places to cope with market demand.

    The ERB will also suitably adjust the provision of training places for individual courses quarterly in response to the latest market situation, the performance of training bodies and the placement rate of its trainees. To help adjusting the provision of training places, the ERB Working Group on Research and Development also holds regular meetings to review the employment situation of and the demand for domestic helpers as well as workers in other trades on the basis of the vacancy information gathered by LD, ERB and various training bodies.

    As regards the contents of training courses, ERB set up the Course Steering Group on Domestic Helpers and the Trade Advisory Groups in 1999, and introduced a standardized 12-day domestic helpers training course. The Course Steering Group and the Trade Advisory Groups meet regularly to revise and update the courses with due regard to the comments of the employers and trainees. ERB also conducts user surveys from time to time in order to have a better understanding of the demand of specific trades and help develop courses to meet market needs, for example, follow-up training modules on cookery and elderly care will help improve the employment opportunities of domestic helper trainees. Besides, ERB is actively helping local domestic helpers to expand their market by introducing employer-oriented supporting services and providing one-stop follow-up services for both employers and trainees through 13 regional services centres administered by the training bodies. ERB is also stepping up publicity at the district level to promote the services of local domestic helpers to employers.

  5. In helping local domestic helpers to secure employment, LD provides job matching and job referral services for both job seekers and employers who come forward for registration. Generally, there is no restriction on the age and background of the job seekers. As to ERB, its target clients are unemployed persons aged 30 or above with junior secondary education or below. Trainees who have completed training in domestic helper skills will be entitled to a three-month follow-up package covering job matching, job referral, post-employment counselling, etc. Thus, LD and ERB serve different groups and perform different functions. Nevertheless, the two work closely together. For example, LD's placement officers will, where appropriate, encourage job seekers to attend training courses in domestic helper skills organized by ERB. The two organizations will also share information on local domestic helper vacancies. The Government has no plan to revise the delineation of their roles and functions for the time being.

Date of sitting: 10 April 2002

Asked by: Hon. LEUNG Fu-wah

Replied by: SEM

Question:

Regarding the employment and training of local domestic helpers, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the respective numbers of registration received by the Labour Department ("LD") with respect to domestic helpers' job applications and vacancies over the past five years; and among the registered job seekers, of the number of people who have secured employment with the help of the vacancy processing service;

  2. whether LD has assessed the reasons for other registered job seekers' failure to secure employment as domestic helpers; if so, of the results; and whether LD will formulate new policies or adjust existing policies, or introduce other measures to help job seekers secure employment;

  3. with respect to domestic helpers training courses run by institutes under the Employees Retraining Board ("ERB") over the past five years, whether it knows the numbers of training places offered, students enrolled, students who have secured employment as domestic helpers upon graduation and the average level of their salary, daily working hours and job duties;

  4. whether it knows if ERB has carried out regular reviews on whether the numbers of training places and contents of the courses run by their institutes have met the needs of the market; if so, of the results of such reviews and ERB's follow-up actions; and

  5. how LD and ERB would delineate their roles and responsibilities in helping domestic helpers to secure employment; and whether there will be changes to such delineation in the future?

Reply:

Madam President:

  1. The Labour Department ("LD") began keeping detailed statistics on the employment services provided to local domestic helpers from 1998 and the figures are as follows:

      1998 1999 2000 2001
    No. of job seekers seeking domestic helper posts 3 059 5 480 5 619 6 839
    No. of domestic helper vacancies 3 665 5 002 4 865 6 974
    No. of domestic helpers placed through LD referral 1 134 2 026 1 781 2 288

  2. We believe that some of the job-seekers fail to secure employment as domestic helpers because their skills or working experience fall short of the requirement of the employers, or the employers' terms of employment are not up to the expectation of the job-seekers. To address this situation, LD will do its best to match expectations between employers and job-seekers, and where appropriate, encourage and refer job seekers to attend training courses organized by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) to enhance their skills and upgrade the quality of their services. LD also launched the following initiatives to enhance service for job seekers and employers in the domestic helper market:

    1. assigning Placement Consultants to all of the 11 Job Centres to provide job counselling, job referrals and latest market information for job seekers, enabling them to better understand the domestic helper market;

    2. assisting job seekers in compiling their personal and record of obtaining recommendations from employers, if any, so as to improve their chance of securing employment;

    3. launching a local domestic helpers webpage on the Department's Interactive Employment Service website to facilitate exchange of information between prospective employers and job seekers;

    4. setting up a Telephone Employment Service Centre to provide more convenient access to information on domestic helper vacancies in the locality, enabling interested job seekers to get the information over the phone instead of having to queue up at Job Centres in person; and

    5. setting up a Job Vacancy Processing Centre to collect recruitment details, so that prospective employers only need to call the Centre to place their local domestic helper vacancies with the Department.

  3. In response to market needs, ERB has substantially increased the number of training places for domestic helpers over the past five years. From 1997-98 to 2001-02 financial year, more than 41 000 training places have been offered for domestic helpers against an accumulative total of 67 000 enrolment applications:

    1997-98 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02
    No. of places offered 1,985 5,690 10,729 10,435 13,000
    No. of applications received 3,071 10,749 14,603 16,624 22,000*
               
    * projection for the year

    For the years from 1997-98 to 2000-01, the respective numbers of trainees who secured employment upon completion of domestic helpers training courses are as follows:

    Financial year No. of trainees having completed domestic helpers training courses No. of trainees having secured employment # No. of trainees having secured employment as domestic helpers
    1997-98 1,658 998 463
    1998-99 5,292 3,792 2,159
    1999-00 9,882 7,801 4,549
    2000-01 9,294 7,397 4,010
    2001-02 11,825* Not available Not available
           
    * projection for the year
    # Including those who secured employment irrespective of their trades

    ERB has recently conducted an opinion survey among employers of local domestic helpers. The result indicated that among the trainees who have secured employment as domestic helpers, 79% work 3 to 6 hours per day, 14% work less than 3 hours per day and 7% work 7 hours or more per day. Those who finish the training courses are generally paid $45 to $59 an hour, depending on job requirements, hours of work, working locations, etc. Regarding job duties, they are mainly employed to take charge of household cleaning (93%), followed by washing/ironing clothes (23%) and preparation of dinner (12%). Other duties include buying food, preparing lunch, baby-sitting, child and elderly care, etc.


  4. In working out the annual provision of training places and its distribution among different courses, ERB will take into consideration, inter alia, the performance of various training bodies, market demand and supply, and its annual budgetary expenditure. Taking domestic helpers training courses as an example, in response to the development potential of this job type and an increasing number of job vacancies in the trade, ERB is now providing additional domestic helpers training places to cope with market demand.

    The ERB will also suitably adjust the provision of training places for individual courses quarterly in response to the latest market situation, the performance of training bodies and the placement rate of its trainees. To help adjusting the provision of training places, the ERB Working Group on Research and Development also holds regular meetings to review the employment situation of and the demand for domestic helpers as well as workers in other trades on the basis of the vacancy information gathered by LD, ERB and various training bodies.

    As regards the contents of training courses, ERB set up the Course Steering Group on Domestic Helpers and the Trade Advisory Groups in 1999, and introduced a standardized 12-day domestic helpers training course. The Course Steering Group and the Trade Advisory Groups meet regularly to revise and update the courses with due regard to the comments of the employers and trainees. ERB also conducts user surveys from time to time in order to have a better understanding of the demand of specific trades and help develop courses to meet market needs, for example, follow-up training modules on cookery and elderly care will help improve the employment opportunities of domestic helper trainees. Besides, ERB is actively helping local domestic helpers to expand their market by introducing employer-oriented supporting services and providing one-stop follow-up services for both employers and trainees through 13 regional services centres administered by the training bodies. ERB is also stepping up publicity at the district level to promote the services of local domestic helpers to employers.

  5. In helping local domestic helpers to secure employment, LD provides job matching and job referral services for both job seekers and employers who come forward for registration. Generally, there is no restriction on the age and background of the job seekers. As to ERB, its target clients are unemployed persons aged 30 or above with junior secondary education or below. Trainees who have completed training in domestic helper skills will be entitled to a three-month follow-up package covering job matching, job referral, post-employment counselling, etc. Thus, LD and ERB serve different groups and perform different functions. Nevertheless, the two work closely together. For example, LD's placement officers will, where appropriate, encourage job seekers to attend training courses in domestic helper skills organized by ERB. The two organizations will also share information on local domestic helper vacancies. The Government has no plan to revise the delineation of their roles and functions for the time being.

Date of sitting: 10 April 2002

Asked by: Hon. LEUNG Fu-wah

Replied by: SEM

Question:

Regarding the employment and training of local domestic helpers, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the respective numbers of registration received by the Labour Department ("LD") with respect to domestic helpers' job applications and vacancies over the past five years; and among the registered job seekers, of the number of people who have secured employment with the help of the vacancy processing service;

  2. whether LD has assessed the reasons for other registered job seekers' failure to secure employment as domestic helpers; if so, of the results; and whether LD will formulate new policies or adjust existing policies, or introduce other measures to help job seekers secure employment;

  3. with respect to domestic helpers training courses run by institutes under the Employees Retraining Board ("ERB") over the past five years, whether it knows the numbers of training places offered, students enrolled, students who have secured employment as domestic helpers upon graduation and the average level of their salary, daily working hours and job duties;

  4. whether it knows if ERB has carried out regular reviews on whether the numbers of training places and contents of the courses run by their institutes have met the needs of the market; if so, of the results of such reviews and ERB's follow-up actions; and

  5. how LD and ERB would delineate their roles and responsibilities in helping domestic helpers to secure employment; and whether there will be changes to such delineation in the future?

Reply:

Madam President:

  1. The Labour Department ("LD") began keeping detailed statistics on the employment services provided to local domestic helpers from 1998 and the figures are as follows:

      1998 1999 2000 2001
    No. of job seekers seeking domestic helper posts 3 059 5 480 5 619 6 839
    No. of domestic helper vacancies 3 665 5 002 4 865 6 974
    No. of domestic helpers placed through LD referral 1 134 2 026 1 781 2 288

  2. We believe that some of the job-seekers fail to secure employment as domestic helpers because their skills or working experience fall short of the requirement of the employers, or the employers' terms of employment are not up to the expectation of the job-seekers. To address this situation, LD will do its best to match expectations between employers and job-seekers, and where appropriate, encourage and refer job seekers to attend training courses organized by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) to enhance their skills and upgrade the quality of their services. LD also launched the following initiatives to enhance service for job seekers and employers in the domestic helper market:

    1. assigning Placement Consultants to all of the 11 Job Centres to provide job counselling, job referrals and latest market information for job seekers, enabling them to better understand the domestic helper market;

    2. assisting job seekers in compiling their personal and record of obtaining recommendations from employers, if any, so as to improve their chance of securing employment;

    3. launching a local domestic helpers webpage on the Department's Interactive Employment Service website to facilitate exchange of information between prospective employers and job seekers;

    4. setting up a Telephone Employment Service Centre to provide more convenient access to information on domestic helper vacancies in the locality, enabling interested job seekers to get the information over the phone instead of having to queue up at Job Centres in person; and

    5. setting up a Job Vacancy Processing Centre to collect recruitment details, so that prospective employers only need to call the Centre to place their local domestic helper vacancies with the Department.

  3. In response to market needs, ERB has substantially increased the number of training places for domestic helpers over the past five years. From 1997-98 to 2001-02 financial year, more than 41 000 training places have been offered for domestic helpers against an accumulative total of 67 000 enrolment applications:

    1997-98 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02
    No. of places offered 1,985 5,690 10,729 10,435 13,000
    No. of applications received 3,071 10,749 14,603 16,624 22,000*
               
    * projection for the year

    For the years from 1997-98 to 2000-01, the respective numbers of trainees who secured employment upon completion of domestic helpers training courses are as follows:

    Financial year No. of trainees having completed domestic helpers training courses No. of trainees having secured employment # No. of trainees having secured employment as domestic helpers
    1997-98 1,658 998 463
    1998-99 5,292 3,792 2,159
    1999-00 9,882 7,801 4,549
    2000-01 9,294 7,397 4,010
    2001-02 11,825* Not available Not available
           
    * projection for the year
    # Including those who secured employment irrespective of their trades

    ERB has recently conducted an opinion survey among employers of local domestic helpers. The result indicated that among the trainees who have secured employment as domestic helpers, 79% work 3 to 6 hours per day, 14% work less than 3 hours per day and 7% work 7 hours or more per day. Those who finish the training courses are generally paid $45 to $59 an hour, depending on job requirements, hours of work, working locations, etc. Regarding job duties, they are mainly employed to take charge of household cleaning (93%), followed by washing/ironing clothes (23%) and preparation of dinner (12%). Other duties include buying food, preparing lunch, baby-sitting, child and elderly care, etc.


  4. In working out the annual provision of training places and its distribution among different courses, ERB will take into consideration, inter alia, the performance of various training bodies, market demand and supply, and its annual budgetary expenditure. Taking domestic helpers training courses as an example, in response to the development potential of this job type and an increasing number of job vacancies in the trade, ERB is now providing additional domestic helpers training places to cope with market demand.

    The ERB will also suitably adjust the provision of training places for individual courses quarterly in response to the latest market situation, the performance of training bodies and the placement rate of its trainees. To help adjusting the provision of training places, the ERB Working Group on Research and Development also holds regular meetings to review the employment situation of and the demand for domestic helpers as well as workers in other trades on the basis of the vacancy information gathered by LD, ERB and various training bodies.

    As regards the contents of training courses, ERB set up the Course Steering Group on Domestic Helpers and the Trade Advisory Groups in 1999, and introduced a standardized 12-day domestic helpers training course. The Course Steering Group and the Trade Advisory Groups meet regularly to revise and update the courses with due regard to the comments of the employers and trainees. ERB also conducts user surveys from time to time in order to have a better understanding of the demand of specific trades and help develop courses to meet market needs, for example, follow-up training modules on cookery and elderly care will help improve the employment opportunities of domestic helper trainees. Besides, ERB is actively helping local domestic helpers to expand their market by introducing employer-oriented supporting services and providing one-stop follow-up services for both employers and trainees through 13 regional services centres administered by the training bodies. ERB is also stepping up publicity at the district level to promote the services of local domestic helpers to employers.

  5. In helping local domestic helpers to secure employment, LD provides job matching and job referral services for both job seekers and employers who come forward for registration. Generally, there is no restriction on the age and background of the job seekers. As to ERB, its target clients are unemployed persons aged 30 or above with junior secondary education or below. Trainees who have completed training in domestic helper skills will be entitled to a three-month follow-up package covering job matching, job referral, post-employment counselling, etc. Thus, LD and ERB serve different groups and perform different functions. Nevertheless, the two work closely together. For example, LD's placement officers will, where appropriate, encourage job seekers to attend training courses in domestic helper skills organized by ERB. The two organizations will also share information on local domestic helper vacancies. The Government has no plan to revise the delineation of their roles and functions for the time being.
Last revision date: 10 April 2002
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