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    12 Apr 2016

    VTC press statement in response to the comments on Earn & Learn Pilot Scheme for Retail Industry

    The Vocational Training Council has responded to the press conference convened today (12 April) by the Hong Kong Department Stores & Commercial Staff General Union and Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions as follows:

    The Earn and Learn Pilot Scheme for Retail Industry (“Pilot Scheme”) is a tripartite collaborative venture between the Government, Hong Kong Retail Management Association (RMA) and Vocational Training Council (VTC). When designing the curriculum, workplace training and remuneration and benefit structure, the three parties made reference to established industry practice to ensure scheme participants acquire in-depth knowledge of retail industry operations.

    According to the agreement, a graduate of Diploma of Foundation Studies in Retail is entitled to take home pay of no less than HK$11,000, basic salary and commission inclusive, should the graduate continue to be employed by the same employer as during the training period. The calculation method of the salary is formulated in line with the prevailing commission-based remuneration system adopted by the retail industry. Participants and employers of the Pilot Scheme are already familiar with the calculation model used for this purpose.

    VTC and RMA will work in concert to monitor implementation of the Pilot Scheme. The Scheme is a pilot, with the first cohort of participants only graduating this April, and it is anticipated there will be a period of evaluation at that time for both participants and employers. VTC and RMA will closely follow up to ensure employer compliance in terms of the Pilot Scheme requirements. VTC also has communication channels in place to address participant queries. Programme instructors will follow up on any queries and help deal with misunderstandings to ensure that employers abide by the Scheme details as required.

    In terms of concerns regarding the dropout rate, VTC believes that the view raised does not reflect the full picture. The first cohort of the Foundation Diploma programme of the Pilot Scheme enrolled a total of 255 participants, 94 of whom opted out at a later stage. However, it should be noted that 39 participants, or over 40% of the dropouts, went on to pursue full-time jobs in retail, at an early stage of the Pilot Scheme, after acquiring some understanding of the industry. Additionally, the retail industry has rendered extensive support to the Pilot Scheme, with close to 50 brands across different retail sectors joining it.

    The Pilot Scheme was launched in response to industry demand, training up new talent equipped with the requisite professional knowledge and practical experience. VTC will join hands with Hong Kong Retail Management Association and the Government to further improve the Scheme for enhanced development of the industry.

    Media Enquiries: 2836 1047