Rachel Chan, Co-Founder of Esperanza, outlined the irreversible changes brought by the pandemic with increasing demands for online purchase, remote work, virtual offerings, process automation and cloud migration. With data fast becoming a business asset, cyber security is more important than ever. Digital reskilling and upskilling of the workforce at all levels have topped the agenda of progressive companies.
Keynote by Josh Nester, Managing Director (Online Education), SEEK
Josh Nester, Managing Director (Online Education), SEEK highlighted the problem of employee disengagement everywhere. According to the Qualtrics 2021 Employee Experience Trends, the 3 strongest drivers of employee engagement were “a sense of belonging, a sense of pride in a company’s positive impact on the world and alignment with career goals”. And most important of all, “learning and development” can address these drivers accordingly. With this correlation, Josh emphasized that workplace learning can help employees find a closer connection between themselves and the company, driving higher engagement, productivity, and retention.
Josh shared the changing trends in workforce development, with more and more organisations shifting from instructor-led to online learning. There are different online learning platforms catering to different needs, such as Udemy, General Assembly, Coursera, Future Learn and Go 1 (an aggregator of learning contents).
Go Digital Programme, Mr. John C Tsang and Mr. Isaac Shao
John C Tsang, Founder of Esperanza, set the scene of the discussion with the book “The Learning Economy and the Economics of Hope ”. The book demonstrated the limitations of standard economic theories and the need for society to promote innovation and the human capacity to learn.
Isaac Shao, Executive, Head of Unification & Transformation, Asia at SEEK said that the pandemic has forced many businesses in Hong Kong to change their business models. This will require new skill sets such as data analysis, cybersecurity and programming. He quoted a recent study by the Hong Kong Productivity Council:
- two-thirds of employers considered their staff unable to cope with these new demands,
- 82% of employees see the need to learn new skills but
- Only 56% of employers are willing to provide training
With reference to a recent McKinsey study, John pointed out that the following industries with high physical proximity will be most affected by the pandemic:
- Hospitals and clinics
- Personal care industries such as elderly homes, gym, beauty and hair salons
- Activities with considerable on-site customer interaction such as retail stores and banks
- Hospitality industries like restaurants and hotels
- Education and training
The study also shows that the largest negative impact of the pandemic will fall on low skill and manual workers, as almost all growth in labor demand will occur in high-wage jobs that require technological, social and emotional skills.
Against this background, Isaac introduced the Go Digital Programme jointly organised by Esperanza and JobsDB (owned by SEEK). The programme connects organizations in need of digital transformation with training partners in the Esperanza and SEEK network, and connect them with funding support from Government’s Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (RTTP). Participating companies can:
- Develop the digital skills of their staff with professional recommendations and support
- Enjoy discounted learning vouchers from SEEK’s network of training partners
- Get administrative support from the accredited training providers in Hong Kong to apply for the RTTP funding
- Build their employer brand through the programme’s PR and marketing support
- Demonstrate their ESG commitment to their employees and Hong Kong
Go Digital will be a one-year programme. Interested parties can express their interest by 13 Sep via: bit.ly/3xmfa7n.
John and Isaac hoped that this Go Digital pilot would encourage more organisations to adopt similar partnership models, creating a rippling effect to reskill and upskill Hong Kong’s workforce.
Introductions by Go Digital Training Partners
Cybint Solutions, an Israeli company, was one of the winners of the 2020 Edventures Global Business Acceleration Fellowship organised by Esperanza last year. Roy Zur (Founder and CEO) showed that the economic value at risk due to cyber attacks could amount to USD$5.2 trillion globally over the next five years. 95% of cyber attacks are due to the human factor. There is an urgency for companies to build their in-house cyber security capability. Through a global cyber education network (including Xccelerate in HK), Cybint offers workshops, bootcamps, simulated learning and certification programmes for both IT professionals and general staff at all levels.
Go1 is the world’s largest curated e-learning library with content from the top providers. Suresh Thiru (Advisor of Go1) introduced the diverse offerings (both hard and soft skills) on the Go1 platform which suits all levels of staff. Participants of the Go Digital Programme can enjoy 3 months of free trials and a 30% discount for the first year subscription.
Tecky Academy was the winner of the Reimagine Education Challenge organised by Esperanza in 2019. Alex Lau (the Founder) introduced its full suite of training support covering programming, data science and cloud computing. They provide crash courses for the management, workshops and labs for middle and entry level developers and ongoing consultancy and technical support.
Xccelerate was one of the finalists of the Edventures GBA Fellowship 2020. Tony Lee (Enterprise Sales Lead) explained how their training programmes could help companies design their offerings to meet customer needs, lower customer acquisition and operating costs. Key offerings include behavioral psychology & user research, UX / UI, digital marketing, data analytics, project management and cyber security.
Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (RTTP)
The government launched the RTTP (https://rttp.vtc.edu.hk/) in 2018 with the Vocational Training Council administering the scheme. Angus Lam from VTC highlighted the following features of the RTTP:
- subsidising registered HK companies (services and manufacturing) on a 2:1 matching basis to provide staff training in advanced technologies, especially those related to “Industry 4.0”
- a funding ceiling of HK$500,000 in each financial year
- employees to benefit from the programme are HK permanent residents
- courses could be open to the public or tailor-made for the company