With over 18,000 employees in Hong Kong, the MTR Corporation (MTR) faces a talent shortage when 20% of Hong Kong’s population, and there for some of their employees, is going to reach retirement age within the next decade. Coupled with this is a shrinking youth population in Hong Kong, where young people are under pressure from a young age to pursue professions, such as lawyers and doctors, which are perceived to reflect success.
MTR decided to tackle this dilemma by doubling down on vocational training and development efforts amongst the younger generation with the goal of nurturing a new generation of workforce that will keep the trains running and the business expanding into the future.
MTR’s Apprentice Training Scheme, established in 1978, has seen more than 1,500 young people complete training over the years, with graduates now holding senior positions in various departments and some becoming members of the company’s management team.
In addition to systematic, on the job training and career development coaching, the company fully sponsors apprentices to attend designated vocational training programmes with recognised academic qualifications. Different programmes are supported to cater to individuals with varying levels of educational attainment, and equip employees to pursue promising careers within the company.
Reaching out to younger children, MTR rolled out a programme targeted at secondary school-aged students. With the goal of encouraging students to explore the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), MTR together with Junior Achievement Hong Kong and Hong Kong Education City, launched the STEM challenge to engage secondary school students in real world engineering challenge and enhance their understanding of how STEM skills are applied in practice. The project-based learning component of the programme offers participants the opportunity to develop their own vision for inclusive and sustainable communities, while testing out their technical skills.
All these programmes provide a unique opportunity, particularly for secondary school students to get a taste of the wide range of roles available to them, build confidence and excitement in the career prospects of both professional and vocational roles.
For MTR this investment means a greater number of youngsters ent4reing the workforce with the skills they need and insight into the specific career opportunities within the company at a time when a number of their experienced workers approach retirement and the company continues to expand its reach in Hong Kong and overseas.