Energising work ethics

Energising work ethics

A summer training scheme is helping job-seekers gain valuable experience to find work

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Students Kary Chan Ka-yee (left) and Yeung Fong-ching have both gained confidence and useful insights into working thanks to the 'Energising My Future' programme.
Students Kary Chan Ka-yee (left) and Yeung Fong-ching have both gained confidence and useful insights into working thanks to the 'Energising My Future' programme.
Photo: Edmond So/SCMP
Teenager Yeung Fong-ching, who has not had a job last longer than six months during the past year, is out of work again. Yet it is not through lack of effort.

The 19-year-old came from Fujian province to Hong Kong with his mother and younger brother last year to join his father, who is working here. Yeung, who has a Form Five secondary school certificate and only limited ability in Cantonese, has accepted any jobs he could find.

"Already I've been working in construction, logistics, as a waiter and a cleaner in local fast-food restaurants," Yeung says. "In one job, I was asked to carry heavy boxes from 6pm until 7am. It was really hard work."

Each of his jobs has been short-lived - lasting between a few months or half a year or so.

He knows his lack of Cantonese skills caused problems, and even led to him losing one job. "I didn't feel confident talking with my supervisors and workmates," he says.

"I ended up feeling rejected. It caused misunderstandings and made it hard for people to trust me."

Yet wanting to improve himself and quickly find another job, he signed up for a career development programme - Energising My Future - A Career Inspiration Journey for Youth, held from June to September.

The training, co-organised by CLP Power HK and Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS), offers skills-based workshops, mock interviews and job placements for 100 youths in the Kwai Tsing district. Government data shows the district has a high level of unemployment, especially among 15- to 24-year-olds.

"Today's young people often lack confidence and don't know how to interact with others," says Lam Chi-wang, a registered social worker in charge of the S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre of the HKCSS.

"It means they lack opportunities at work, too. Many companies often don't have the time or resources for them to learn [at their own pace],"

The centre has provided training workshops and placement opportunities for participants.

"In our shops run by social enterprises, we're able to let them try things out and learn some related skills so they experience what it's like to work," Lam says.

Kary Chan Ka-yee has used the centre to learn how to be a saleswoman in a shop selling do-it-yourself products.

She found it a delightful experience, which gave her valuable insights into working.

"While working as a saleswoman I realised I was really interested in sales and marketing," says Chan, 18.

"I want to study this field at university - if I have the chance."

Like many of this year's Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education graduates, Chan is anxious about the future. "I'm confused about what I should do," she says. "There are so many more graduates competing for university places this year. I may not even get the chance to study."

However, the programme helped her to focus on learning new skills and find support.

"I've met some good friends here," she says. "We support one another in our search for jobs and future plans, which is nice."

Yeung, who is still looking for a job, adds: "I've found my confidence. And I will stay positive and open up as a person: this will help other people get to know me, and accept me more."

Chan Hin-sang, CLP's senior human resources manager, is pleased with the participants' development during the training.

He says: "It is normal for someone, especially a new member of staff, not to know how to do things sometimes. But most important is people's willingness to learn. A good attitude will enable you to do your job well eventually."

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