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HKU Joins New Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment

Image Credits: HKU, Press Release

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected many who have historically faced significant barriers to employment, including people with disabilities (PWD). According to a study, up to 800 million global workers will lose their jobs by 2030 and be replaced by robotic automation in the age of science and technology. The ever-expanding use of digital technology implies new job types and work modes. More people than ever are engaging in flexible working and working from home.

Organised by the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the three-year Jockey Club Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment’s Inclusive Career Platform conducted a “Seizing Opportunities for Inclusive Employment in a Time of Change” symposium on 18 November.

The symposium gathered various stakeholders including policymakers, representatives of the philanthropic and innovation and technology (I&T) sector, teachers, and the general public to discuss employment opportunities and possibilities for PWD under the emerging work landscape.

The Head of Charities (Healthy Community), The Hong Kong Jockey Club, in her opening address, stated that the symposium aimed to gather diverse experts and stakeholders to discuss how to effectively promote inclusive employment under the new normal and explore ways to establish a more inclusive culture.

She noted that the Jockey Club Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment serves as a model to combat social prejudice and it encourages the opening of more employment opportunities for job seekers of different abilities.

The President of Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute; the Chairman of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and the Senior Vice President & Executive Director of Public Policy Institute, Our Hong Kong Foundation; Members of the Legislative Council, were the keynote speakers at the symposium.

The President of Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute shared his observations on the challenges and opportunities for inclusive employment. He noted that following the pandemic and technological development, the operation modes of companies are evolving due to the cost and convenience. Many new types of work have also emerged during this transformation. Both PWD and enterprises should innovate and change in a timely manner to meet the needs of the market.

Elaborating on how I&T enriches inclusive employment possibilities, the HKSTP Chairman stated that Park companies and partners have developed innovative solutions and products to help PWD improve their quality of life and well-being. HKSTP also supports inclusive employment, through incubation programmes and experience workshops to inspire start-ups and talents with different cultural backgrounds and abilities to join the I&T ecosystem.

The Park’s established I&T ecosystem continues to grow and expand, with a community of over 18,000 people now, actively developing Hong Kong into an international I&T hub. Through collaborating extensively with stakeholders from government, industry, academic and research sectors, HKSTP has been cultivating and attracting talents for 20 years, expanding the talent pool of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and improving the entire I&T ecosystem.

The Senior Vice President & Executive Director of Public Policy Institute, Our Hong Kong Foundation discussed the employment market and the importance of vocational training. He noted that in addition to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace, Hong Kong should provide vocational training that fits the market needs, alternatives and support with a view to facilitating an enabling environment for the PWD to unleash their talent and release workforce to the society.

In the future, the Jockey Club Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment will continue to enhance social awareness of the importance and value of inclusive employment through academic research and action platform, empower the community stakeholders, and foster collective actions for innovative solutions to unleash the talent of PWD.

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