Engineering your future

Engineering your future

Technicians working in the hotel industry need to have a range of skills to deal with plumbing, air-conditioning, electrical wiring and lighting

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Jay Leung on duty at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.
Jay Leung on duty at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.
Photo: Edmond So/SCMP
Interviewee: Jay Leung Ka-shing, hotel duty engineer at InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, in Tsim Sha Tsui East. The hotel has 570 rooms and suites and facilities including a swimming pool, health spa and business centre.

Get started

Take a four-year programme at the Institute of Vocational Education (IVE). That gives you a Hong Kong Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship (Technician). Then take a two-year higher diploma in electrical engineering, also offered by IVE.

Moving up

Newcomers usually start their careers as technicians. They keep the hotel working smoothly, and carry out maintenance and repair work.

The next step up is as foreman, which is a supervisory role. A foreman will support and advise technicians when they encounter problems.

Next is the duty engineer, who ensures the work carried out by the technician is up to standard.

Outstanding performers can become an assistant director of engineering, or director of engineering, which are management posts.

Race to the top

A hotel's engineer must ensure all of its devices and facilities function smoothly. A person doing this job needs to be observant to spot malfunctions.

An engineer must be multi-skilled in various tasks, including plumbing, lighting, electrical wiring and air-conditioning. Various certificates and qualifications will enhance an engineer's knowledge.

As an engineer's career advances, the job will involve more management of employees. It is important to know your staff so that a job can be assigned to the right person.

Where to apply

Housing estates, office buildings, shopping malls and hotels.

Rewards and benefits

Technicians have a starting pay of about HK$13,000.

A day in the life

Staff responsible for management facilities in housing estates, office buildings and malls usually work from 9am to 6pm.

However, at a hotel, guests' requests have to be handled quickly, so technicians work around the clock. There are three shifts: from 8am to 4.30pm; 3pm to 11.30pm; and 11.30pm to 8am the next day.

Technicians in a hotel work for different departments, and are responsible for facilities such as lighting, air-conditioning and heating.

At the start of a shift, a technician will listen to a report from colleagues on the previous shift. They have to know what has been going on before and pick things up. Then, at the end of their shift, they have to report to co-workers who are starting a new shift.

More senior staff, such as the duty engineer, need to walk around the hotel and look for things that need to be fixed.

Jargon

Chiller - the central air-conditioning system

Switch room - the room with all of a building's power-supply switches

Voltage meter - a device used to check the voltage to ensure the power supply is adequate

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