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HKSTP Launches Deeptech Talents Training Programme

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is rolling out its brand new DeepTech Talents Training (DTT) Programme to upskill technology talent and form a new generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science professionals to bolster Hong Kong’s I&T talent pool.

The programme is now calling for applications from motivated tertiary students and graduates from any discipline who exhibit an interest in AI and Data Science.

Following its mission in driving talent development through the earlier launch of the Technology Leaders of Tomorrow (TLT) Programme and the PROcruit C Programme, HKSTP InnoAcademy is introducing the first-ever DTT programme to address a growing need for deep technology expertise in areas such as AI, data science and fintech in the industry.

The CEO of HKSTP stated that Hong Kong needs high-quality technology talent more than ever to fulfil the city’s ambition to become a world-class I&T hub. The rapid expansion of the HKSTP innovation ecosystem is seeing new start-ups and technology ventures who are eager for young talent to fuel their growth.

The DTT Programme is the latest addition to HKSTP’s many talent initiatives to help nurture DeepTech skills in AI, data science and other areas of tech expertise.

Organised in collaboration with HKSTP’s dedicated AI support unit, AI Plug, the DTT Programme will provide applicants with a series of intensive and hands-on training to equip them with in-demand knowledge of data science and machine learning.

The programme running from May to June 2021 will see over 10 HKSTP partner companies offer more than 20 job and internship opportunities to outstanding candidates to emerge from the DTT Programme.

Participants from the application stage will be shortlisted to the top 100 through an online quiz. They will then attend a six-day intense DeepTech Bootcamp, with a final 50 invited to a mini-project presentation on computer vision or data science to be considered for potential job and internship opportunities with HKSTP partner companies.

The DeepTech skills training will be based on the following modules:

  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Common Machine Learning Algorithms
  • Essential Skills to Build AI Application
  • Artificial Neural Networks and Fundamentals of Deep Learning Algorithms
  • Deep Learning Mini Project Implementation

The DTT programme’s partner companies cover a range of tech ventures from fintech, logistics, and electronics to wide-ranging AI companies. More than ten companies are participating in the Programme.

Demand for tech talent persists

According to an article from March 2021, experts are warning of a looming labour shortage in Hong Kong, especially in the information technology sector, as local talent moves away and fewer foreign specialists arrive. Employers say they are competing for the same small pool, and facing shortages in cutting-edge IT areas of data science, cloud and information security.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought international travel to a standstill, closed borders and resulted in Hong Kong imposing travel bans. A 21-day compulsory hotel quarantine has further affected the arrival of new international talent.

Figures from the Immigration Department for work visas show only 14,617 approvals last year, sharply down from 41,289 in 2019. The IT sector saw only 652 new visas, compared to 1,655 in 2019. Work visa extensions dipped from 22,159 in 2019 to 19,323 last year, an indication of foreigners who left the city.

Talent from mainland China also recorded a sharp decline, with 6,995 new visas under the Mainland Talents and Professionals scheme, compared to 14,053 in 2019.

At the same time, Hongkongers with skills in demand are being lured to other tech hubs, with countries such as Britain and Canada loosening their immigration policies for city residents following Beijing’s imposition of national security law in June 2020.

Thus, the programmes being developed and released by HKSTP and other agencies in Hong Kong are crucial if Hong Kong is to achieve its goal of being a global tech hub.

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