Following is a question by the Hon Charles Mok and a written reply by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, in the Legislative Council today (June 19):
In August last year, the Government launched a Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (RTTP) to subsidise staff members of local companies to receive training in advanced technologies. Training courses that are open for applications by various companies (public courses) and training courses that are designed for particular companies (tailor-made courses) are subsidised under the RTTP. In respect of public courses, course providers should submit applications for course registration at least eight weeks before course commencement, and eligible companies should submit applications for training grants at least two weeks before course commencement. For tailor-made courses, eligible companies should submit applications for course approval and training grants in one go. Some members of the trade have relayed that the procedure for registration and approval of the training courses are cumbersome and time-consuming, leaving course providers and eligible companies only a very short time for recruiting students and submitting applications for training grants respectively. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of companies subsidised under the RTTP (broken down by type of business), and the number of staff members who participated in the training courses (broken down by post title), as at the end of last month;
(2) of the average number of working days taken for completing the registration of public courses, and the average number of working days prior to course commencement were course providers notified that registration was successful, as at the end of last month; and
(3) whether it has plans to review and streamline the procedure for course registration and approval, so that more companies can make arrangements for their staff members to receive training in advanced technologies; if so, of the details?
In order to nurture local innovation and technology talent, the Government launched the Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (RTTP) in August 2018 to subsidise existing staff of local enterprises on a 2(Government):1(Enterprise) matching basis to receive technology training, especially those relating to Industry 4.0. The Vocational Training Council administers the RTTP and serves as its secretariat.
Our reply to various parts of the question is as follows:
(1) As at end May 2019, the RTTP has funded a total of 831 staff from 335 local enterprises to receive technology training with a total funding amount of about $5.57 million. The distribution of the type of business of these enterprises is as follows:
The RTTP requires enterprises applying for training grants to fill in, among others, the post of the staff nominated for training in the application form. As the post titles of different industries and enterprises vary, the secretariat has received a large variety of post information and does not maintain a breakdown by different post titles. In general, the staff subsidised to receive technology training are engaged in a broad range of duties, such as quality management, product design and research and development, information technology, marketing and promotion, sales and human resources, etc. They also include senior management of the enterprises (such as chief executive officers and chief financial officers), other management personnel and frontline staff, etc.
(2) As at end May 2019, the secretariat takes an average of 30 working days to process applications for public course registration submitted by training providers, and on average, training providers would be notified of the result of application 71 working days before the start of the training course.
(3) Since the launch of the RTTP, the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) and the secretariat have been closely monitoring the application and vetting situation, and have implemented enhancement measures. For example, since May 2019, training providers could re-run the same public course previously registered for a maximum of two times by notifying the secretariat in writing, without the need to go through the secretariat vetting process again. In addition, we launched an online application system on the website of the RTTP (rttp.vtc.edu.hk/) in March 2019 to facilitate training providers in submitting applications for registration of public courses. Enterprises can also submit applications through the system for organising tailor-made courses and training grants. We have also enhanced the design and function of the website to enable enterprises to search registered public courses that suit their staff more easily.
The ITC and the secretariat will continue to maintain contact with training providers and enterprises, and will review and improve the arrangements of the RTTP as appropriate.