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HKSTP launches second intake of TLT programme

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) has launched the second intake of its Technology Leaders of Tomorrow (TLT) programme to meet the growing demand for young outstanding innovation and technology (I&T) talent and to drive the development of Hong Kong’s thriving tech sector. The programme is now calling for applications from recent graduates who aspire to reward I&T careers that will shape the future industry.

Originally launched in 2020 as the signature scheme under HKSTP InnoAcademy, the unique TLT programme combines continuous training with deep R&D skills development through full-time roles at technology companies at Science Park. Under the theme of ‘Start Now, Impact Tomorrow’, TLT 2021 has engaged 27 partner companies, and the cohort can expect to be matched to a possible total of 48 leadership job opportunities, a significant increase from last year, across Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Biomedical Technology, Data and Smart City, FinTech and more.

This year the programme is also extending the partnership with non-HKSTP technology companies to create a wider and deeper pool of start-ups and industry players, who will take on the city’s promising tech talent and develop them into industry leaders.

The CEO of HKSTP stated that the TLT 2021 programme is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of leadership talent in technology who will leverage opportunities in the industry to drive Hong Kong’s future I&T growth.

HKSTP InnoAcademy is seeking out promising young talent who demonstrate the critical attributes of diligence, humility, and a passion for technology, and build on these foundations through the expanded TLT programme so that Hong Kong sustains its rapidly-growing I&T momentum.

The highly successful programme in 2020 saw eight young graduates join leading technology companies in the HKSTP ecosystem from a pool of over 600 applications. This year, candidates will follow the same path and undertake a two-month innovation and leadership training, followed by a 24-month full-time R&D role within their assigned company to deepen their R&D and commercial skills.

Talent will also be given the opportunity to experience the “Work. Live. Play. Learn.” innovation culture and interact with innovators within the Park community. Upon completion of the two-year attachment, HKSTP InnoAcademy aims to continue its mission to provide all-round leadership and coaching to the TLT alumni.

Participating companies are selected based on a collection of criteria including promising company growth prospects, R&D support, quality of training and substantial I&T activities in Hong Kong. By extending collaboration with companies outside of the HKSTP ecosystem, HKSTP InnoAcademy ensures an ideal development environment to nurture and groom these future tech leaders.

University graduates who studied STEM-related subjects, and graduated for less than 3 years are eligible to apply. Depending on the level of degree achieved, graduates will earn a monthly salary starting from HK$25K for Bachelor’s, HK$30K for Master’s, and up to HK$45K for PhDs.

More of these programmes are just what Hong Kong needs if it is to compete with the rest of the world’s leading I&T hubs.

According to a recent article, experts have warned 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.

Recruitment consultants say hiring in the IT sector has picked up this year, with big demand among multinationals, insurance firms and tech giants for data scientists, cloud and IT security professionals, who typically come from overseas.

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.

Immigration Department figures 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.

Hong Kong needs to act to retain and train its own talent while attracting foreigners if it hopes to hold its own against the competition, experts say.

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