Hong Kong's testing and certification industry is built upon a workforce of professionals with high integrity and technical expertise that gives confidence to users of the industry's services. The Council conducted an assessment of the demand and supply of manpower in the industry in 2009. Since then, the Council has also updated some of the figures.
For testing laboratories and inspection bodies, staff can be non-degree holders but more and more have attained university level education. Staff with higher qualifications will bring up the technical competence of the establishment. Disciplines in universities relevant to testing laboratories and inspection bodies are science, applied science, engineering, fashion and textiles etc.
For certification bodies, staff with university level education and working experience in relevant trades are generally sought after. They may come from various academic disciplines. The sector is looking for people with good communication and language skills. Work knowledge is mainly built up through on-the-job training.
On the supply side, academic programmes and courses related to the industry (such as science, applied science, engineering, fashion and textiles) are offered by local post-secondary educational institutes including the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) of the Vocational Training Council (VTC) as well as the universities. Details of these programmes and courses offered by universities can be found here.
VTC/IVE offers Higher Diploma courses and part-time upgrading courses that are highly relevant to the industry. In the period from 2008-2012, the average number of graduates of the Higher Diploma programmes most relevant to the industry is around 490 per year.
Local universities trained up some 10 000 graduates per year in science, applied science, engineering as well as fashion and textiles disciplines according to information collected at the end of 2012.
The Qualifications Framework (QF) was launched in 2008 with the aim to clearly define the standards of different qualifications, ensure their quality and indicate the articulation ladders between different levels of qualifications. It is a seven-level hierarchy of qualifications covering the academic, vocational and continuing education sectors. QF will help enhance the overall quality and competitiveness of the local workforce in the long run.
Established in 2010 under QF, the Industry Training Advisory Committee of the Testing, Inspection and Certification Industry has completed the Specification of Competency Standards for the industry and released it in July 2014. More details on this front can be found in its relevant webpage.
All QF-recognized qualifications and courses are quality assured. The list of such qualifications and courses can be found in the Qualifications Register.
QF has launched the Award Scheme for Learning Experience to encourage outstanding or emerging practitioners to broaden their horizons through participating in various learning activities and to establish network and connections with industry partners in and outside Hong Kong. Learning activities may be contests, conferences, seminars, study tours and the like, but not education and training programmes.
||Academic Programmes in Local Post-Secondary Educational Institutes
||Attracting Talents and Enhancing Professionalism of Practitioners
The Council also sees the need for attracting talents and enhancing the professional standard of practitioners. Listed below are some activities and trainings on this front. They are important complements to the provision of academic programmes and courses at the post-secondary level.
i. Attracting Talents
- Career Talks/Fairs
The Council has been co-ordinating speakers for career talks and participating in fairs in local post-secondary educational institutes to promote the career prospects of the testing and certification industry to students.
|Career Fair at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
||Career Talk at the University of Hong Kong
- Summer Internship
Internship programme provides a good channel for students to understand more about the industry and its career opportunities. It helps to attract young people with suitable education background to join the industry and thereby benefit the industry as a whole.
In the past few years since 2011, the Council has coordinated internship opportunities from accredited testing laboratories and accredited certification and inspection bodies in Hong Kong and forwarded them to local universities and VTC. The response has been positive.
For the lists of relevant programmes offered by local universities and the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) of VTC, please click:
ii. Enhancing Professionalism for Practitioners
- Short Courses
- Institute of Vocational Education, Vocational Training Council (VTC/IVE)
Some of the topics of the part-time upgrading course offered by VTC/IVE include :
- Quality Management for Laboratories
- Measurement Uncertainty
- Building Diagnosis and Inspection
- Testing of Consumer Products (e.g., toys and furniture)
- Chemical Testing
- Food Testing
In addition, VTC/IVE regularly organises seminars to update practitioners with the latest knowledge and insight of the industry. Details of the courses and seminars may be obtained at VTC/IVE's relevant website (edit.vtc.edu.hk) or dedicated webpage (va.vtc.edu.hk/tcert), or by email to EDiT@vtc.edu.hk or telephone (2435 9423).
- Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS)
HKAS organizes short courses or workshops from time to time to share the latest practical know-how with industry practitioners. Details are found here.
- Hong Kong Association for Testing, Inspection and Certification (HKTIC)
HKTIC, a non-profit making trade association, offers trainings to industry practitioners, some of which are listed below:
- ISO/IEC 17025
- Measurement Uncertainty
- Method Validation & Quality Control
- Instrument Calibrations
- Internal Audits
- Laboratory Safety
Further details can be obtained at HKTIC's website (www.hktic.org), by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone (2542 8664).
- Hong Kong Productivity Council
The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) has been providing training activities for various industries to enhance the knowledge and skills of their workers. Some courses held in 2012 are useful to practitioners of the testing and certification industry, for example :
- Certification and Testing Course : Laboratory Internal Auditor Training
- Workshop on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC): Theory, Testing, Regulation and Design Considerations
- ISO 50001 Energy Management System (EnMS) Internal Auditor Training
Details of HKPC's training activities are accessible on HKPC's website, or by phone (tel: 2788 6342) or via online enquiry.
- Other organizations
From time to time, organizations other the above have conducted courses relevant to the testing and certification industry. Some of the courses are listed below.
- Certification Course in Quality Management for Laboratory co-organized by the Hong Kong Society for Quality and the City University of Hong Kong (Details)
- Professional Certification Scheme for Testing Personnel
Developed by the Hong Kong Association of Testing, Inspection and Certification with a sponsorship from Government's SME Development Fund, this scheme is a comprehensive scheme which provides certification of individuals seeking to demonstrate their knowledge and/or competence in their field of testing. Currently the scope of certification in the scheme covers Chemical Testing; Construction Materials Testing; Electrical Products Testing; Microbiological Testing; Textiles and Garments Testing; Toys and Hardlines Testing; Food Testing; Environmental Testing; Quality Assurance as well as Calibration. Full details may be obtained at its relevant webpage or by email to email@example.com.
- Corruption Prevention Guide for Testing and Certification Industry
A high level of integrity is of utmost importance to the testing and certification industry as it is one of the cornerstones on which the industry is built. To assist the industry to maintain its high level of integrity and to enhance internal monitoring in management, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has developed a Corruption Prevention Guide for Testing and Certification Industry. Major topics covered in the Guide are : anti-bribery laws, good governance principles as well as preventing corruption through internal controls. It contains practical advices to help the industry maintain effective management of staff integrity. The Guide may be accessed here.