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Christian Service News

News flash

Society's Alarm: 70% of Low Educated Youth
Have Difficulty Finding Work

As higher education is becoming the norm, the bar to entering the work field is constantly being raised. Youth with low education run into many difficulties. The situation is worrying. From August to November 2010, our Happy Teens Club interviewed 544 youths who were between the ages of 18 to 24. 274 of the youths have only attained Form V or below education. 258 passed the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination or have received higher education.

In general, the most important wish of 32.1% of low educated youth was to learn a skill. The survey finds that 73.5% of low educated youth had difficulty finding work. 71.1% youth felt that their low education had restricted their ability to work in their ideal professions. The lower their education, the more they sensed the restriction.

On the other hand, 95.2% of the youth were willing to work for employers who would hire them as interns or administration assistants in their ideal professions. 64.6% thought this would give them a chance to enter their dream occupation. 46.1% believed that this could help them fulfill their dreams and help them to understand their work interests more so that they could really use their talents.

The survey reflects that 39.3% of low educated youth participated in further education. However, 25.9% expressed that the expense on further education has taken over half or more of their monthly salary. Further, 10.2% spent more than 90% of their monthly income on further education. This is a heavy burden for low educated youth.

Based on the above findings, the caller for this Happy Teens Club's "Youth Entering the Work Force Survey", social worker Miss Chu Lai Ying makes the following suggestions:

  1. Start "Special Courses for Further Education" with money allotted from a Community Care Fund.
    1. Courses come with a grading system, are free of charge and have flexible hours so that students with low education and low income will not be deprived of the chance to study due to unstable working hours or the lack of school fees.
    2. Course standards should be equivalent to a passing grade for both the Chinese and English subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination so that students can get on track with the new "334" school system. These courses should also be recognised by the business sector to make it easier for youths to find jobs.
  2. Assess and revise the current Project YiJin courses, so that its academic training can be widely accepted by many including the business, social work, education, and medical sectors. Project YiJin should be retained even as the new "334" school system is being implemented so that low education youth have an extra chance to improve themselves.
  3. More variety and longer internship posts should be opened up. The cooperation between the Government and the business sector should be expanded to create more variety of jobs, such as graphic design, finance and medical services. Longer internships (one year or above) should be provided so that youth can use their talents to fulfill their aspirations.
  4. Flexible work hours should be allowed. The Government should promote the business sector to become "caring enterprises" that allow employees undergoing further education to have flexible work hours. On the other hand, a reward system should also be set up to encourage these thoughtful employers.
Low Educated Youth

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