ITCC and Microsoft held the Launch Ceremony of the Employability Pilot Program
Innovation and Technology Co-creation Centre

The Vocational Training Council (VTC) and Microsoft held the Launch Ceremony of the Employability Pilot Program last Friday (21 June). VTC is Hong Kong’s first education provider to partner with Microsoft to launch this Program. By leveraging Microsoft’s technology resources and materials, the Program will run a series of workshops and online trainings in order to inspire students with the employment trends in 21st Century, and to equip them to be future-ready talents with digital skills such as big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Held last Friday, the Launch Ceremony of the Employability Pilot Program took place in the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (Chai Wan Campus), THEi, with Convenor of the Non-Official Members of the Executive Council The Honourable Bernard Charnwut CHAN as the Guest of Honour. VTC Chairman Dr Roy CHUNG and Cally CHAN, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau, witnessed the official launch of the partnership.

Digital transformation is rapidly changing the ways of how people work across different industries. According to a survey conducted by a labour market data analytics company in the US in 2015, 50 million technical roles will be created globally by 2030. In view of this, Microsoft partners with 10 education institutes from countries and regions like the US, Australia and the UK to roll out the Employability Pilot Program, grooming information technology (IT) talent to drive digital transformation around the globe.

VTC is Hong Kong's first education provider to partner with Microsoft on this Program. With the Hong Kong Government spearheading the smart city development in recent years, there is high demand of talents in the field of big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The first year of the partnership will benefit students of the IT and interdisciplinary programmes of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) and THEi.

The first workshop, titled "Skills for Future Digital Workplace: Data Analytics and Cybersecurity", will gather students with experts from Microsoft, the IT sector and non-government organisations to exchange ideas on topics around data analytics and cybersecurity. There will also be a design thinking session in which participants would explore industry prospects and developments, as well as ideating new solutions for current industry problems.

As job search through social media is becoming the trend, LinkedIn, the workplace social platform under Microsoft will also hold workshops for VTC students in the Program to help them boost personal branding through building professional online profiles. Students will also learn to make use of the employment insights on the platform to make better plans for their own career planning.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will also support VTC with online learning resources, with formats ranging from video tutorials, hands-on labs and virtual projects, to equip students with different digital knowledge and skills such as big data, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, internet of things and data analytics. Students can also attain different Microsoft certifications by taking related examinations upon completion of the online courses. The teaching content will also be integrated into the VTC curriculum to make the programme deliverables be more in line with the market.

The Guest of Honour The Honourable Bernard CHAN was glad to see the launch of the Employability Program of VTC and Microsoft. He said that in view of mismatch of job skills in the marketplace and human capital a core asset of Hong Kong, the right type of skill sets was needed to embrace new challenges we have been facing. The collaboration this time was a very important step and Chan hoped more businesses and education providers could collaborate to help talents acquire knowledge and the right skill sets in the face of future challenges.

Speaking at the Launch Ceremony, VTC Chairman Dr Roy CHUNG said that driven by the Smart City vision and to address the evolving talent needs, VTC continued to innovate with new initiatives and integrate new technologies into the curriculum. Workplace experience, project-based learning, and industry mentorship have become essential parts of students’ learning process. The Employability Program would offer invaluable opportunities for students to access Microsoft’s most up-to-date technology resources and learn from experts. Students would learn about developing professional networks for connecting with industry professionals and employers, and grow their future careers.

Cally CHAN, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau said, 'Lack of digital talents in Hong Kong has been a hot topic in recent years. As the industry leader in the technology sector, it is our mission to nurture digital talents of tomorrow, in order to meet the rapidly growing needs in the market. AI, Big Data and Cloud Computing will transform our society. It is our pleasure to join hands with VTC to launch this pilot program, through which we are looking forward to empowering more students to be future-ready with digital skills and to achieve more.'