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Challenges on the Road Ahead

I am very happy to be appointed as the new Chairman of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) by the Secretary for Development of the Hong Kong Government. It is a great opportunity for me to work with all of you to serve the construction industry.

Between 1993 and 2001, I was appointed as the Chairman of the Construction Industry Training Authority (CITA). The main function of the CITA was to provide vocational training and trade te sting for construction workers. Yet, the current responsibilities undertaken by CIC are more extensive and challenging. The industry and the society now have higher expectations for the CIC than before. Thus, our work now and in the future is full of challenges and opportunities. 

Upon assuming office, I have visited all training and testing centres, outdoor training grounds and different departments. I am so glad to see many colleagues of the former CITA. They still look good and are passionate about their work. At the same time, I have also met many energetic new colleagues. I very much look forward to working closely with all of you, and together turning the CIC into a more effective and happy organisation.

CIC has a wide scope of work and it is difficult to cover all our work in one article. Here, I would like to share with you my views on the importance of training and introduce a new task to you.

A life coach for trainees

In a recent work meeting, I called the senior managers of the training centres our “Principals”. In fact, I always think that the objectives of the CIC training centres are the same as those of ordinary schools, so that in essence, we all work in the educational sector. Apart from passing on knowledge and skills, the instructors should also guide the trainees on the philosophy of life. The instructors have far-reaching influence on the growth of trainees. 

Professor ZENG Shi-qiang (曾仕強), a famous scholar in Taiwan, has conducted an in-depth study of HU Xue-yan (胡雪巖), who was a notable businessman as well as an official in the late Qing dynasty. The main reason for the success of Hu was that there were many people helping him throughout his life, such as ZUO Zong-tang (左中棠), WANG You-ling (王有齡) etc. But Professor Zeng opined that the most important person to Hu was Hu’s mother. She taught Hu to be honest and to not take the belongings of others. Hu was then trained with an upright character, which was highly appreciated by his boss of a grain store. As such, he was on a steady road to success.

YUE Fei (岳飛) was a general of the Song Dynasty who fought against the enemy clan of Jin (金). His mother tattooed a Chinese motto “精忠報國” (literal meaning is to serve the country with the utmost loyalty) on his back to remind him to serve the country and the people. It was a well-known folktale. 

Recently, I attended a gathering session organised by the Hong Kong Bar-Bending Contractors Association and had a meaningful chat with a young person who had completed the bar-bending course at CIC. The young man said that it was the pressure put on him by his family that made him enrol in the bar-bending course at the beginning. Yet, the bar-bending Instructor Mr. WONG Yiu-tung had guided him with patience and encouragement. The young man also noticed and admired Mr. Wong’s passion at work and his simple way of living, which then changed his view on the bar-bending industry, as well as his goals in life and at work. Although he graduated some time ago, he and his classmates still visit Mr. WONG very often. 

I strongly believe the joy that Mr. WONG felt during the gathering session was difficult to verbalise and it didn’t matter to him that he was simply served a cup of tea or a piece of cake.

I hope all frontline instructors and colleagues engaged in training can cherish and make good use of the CIC platform to train their successors for the construction industry of Hong Kong and become their “life coach”. Your influence on trainees is far beyond your imagination.

New image for the construction industry

Over the past twenty or thirty years, the construction industry has grown and prospered. At present, there are around 379,000 construction practitioners, out of which, around 290,000 are frontline workers (skilled workers, semi-skilled works and general workers), 35,000 professionals and 54,000 site management personnel. According to the statistics from the Labour Department, the average wage for construction workers is $15,000 per month, which is higher than the average wage of $9,500 in Hong Kong in general. Almost all construction sites are closed before 7 pm every day, as well as on Sundays and public holidays, and the working hours and holidays are much better than many other industries.

It is a pity that most construction workers in Hong Kong are still employed by sub-contractors on the basis of a daily wage. Most do not receive welfare benefits and care, such as sports and recreational activities etc. from their employers.

After a discussion by CIC Members, it is believed that construction workers should be provided with organised sports and recreational activities. We want to provide them with options for physical and psychological development to live a healthy, balanced and meaningful life. As such, it is decided to apply resources towards promoting and providing opportunities for sports and recreational activities as well as volunteering services for all construction practitioners in Hong Kong and CIC colleagues.

CIC Headquarters has set up a Construction Industry Sports and Volunteering Programme Coordinating Office (CISVP Office) for the overall planning and formulation of policies. The actual implementation will be based on four operating units including four training centres. The details of operation will be announced soon. You are welcome to provide us with some good suggestions.

This is a brand-new direction of work. The successful implementation will not only benefit 379,000 construction workers in Hong Kong, but also build a new image for the construction industry in Hong Kong as a healthy and caring community and benefit the underprivileged in our society. I hope all of you will support and take part in this initiative. 

Chan Ka-kui
Chairman, Construction Industry Council


Last Updated: 2018-07-19 21:23:58