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Wednesday, August 31, 2016, 12:17

Head-start program confronts HK job market gloom

By Dara Wang

Head-start program confronts HK job market gloom
This undated photograph shows student fellows of the head-start internship program of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Jeff Hu Yao-chieh and Kevin Cao Xin-Ming; Erica Ma, co-founder and community advisor of CoCoon; May-yi Shaw, assistant professor of Humanities Education of the Division of Humanities; Kent Wong Siu-Kee, managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited; and student fellows Beatrice Chan Nga-Lam and Rachel Wong Man-yi. (Photo/Provided to China Daily)

HONG KONG – The inaugural session of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s (HKUST) head-start internship program wrapped up Tuesday having taken a few small steps to offer a boost to students feeling down about their job prospects.

Fifty-six students completed internships at 24 business operations over the summer, in retail, investment, technology, and creative industries, including media. They were distributed from right here at home, to Silicon Valley of United States, London, Shanghai and Taipei.

Program initiator, also an assistant professor of Humanities Education of HKUST Shaw May-yi said that some 38 percent of graduates are pessimistic about the employment, according to a survey by CTHR, a website researches on job market, this year.

She believed that among reasons is that many graduates lack confidence in their personal ability.

Therefore, the university hopes to equip their students with career skills earlier and to enhance their confidence in job field through this program, Shaw said.

Jeff Hu Yao-chiech, a sophomore studying computer science and engineering at the university, interned at Augmedix, a technology startup of Silicon Valley in the US this summer. He was in charge of programming a note-taking system for doctors during the intern.

"My supervisor tagged me as a fast learner. However, at the beginning, I had little knowledge about some technology terms that are quite familiar to people in Silicon Valley," Hu said.

"During the two months, I read many books borrowed from my colleagues and attended various meet-ups to keep learning new things. Finally, I finished the program before I leave. I call it achievement, making me proud of myself,” he said.

Aside from a supervisor, every student in the program has a mentor sharing experience and providing advice. Hu said his mentor Andrew Lee, an entrepreneur in Silicon Village, encouraged him to think out of the box. Inspired by his mentor, Hu brought up adding a habit-learning feature on the note-taking system during his final presentation at Augmedix, making that a worth-considering function to develop.

Rachel Wong Man-yi, a freshman from the university, said her internship at the project management department in Chow Tai Fok increased her exposure at business field and impacted her career choice.

"My major is life science, while this summer, I interned at a business department. That helps promote my ability in solving inter-disciplinary problems and broaden my career choices,” Wong said.

Shaw expects to enlarge the scale of the program by offering some 80 intern positions next year.

dara@chinadailyhk.com

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