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Urban Forestry Support Fund - Trainee Programme opens for application througout the year
The Trainee Programme under the Urban Forestry Support Fund encourages employers to engage and train arboriculture and tree management graduates to become quality arborists and tree climbers to support tree management and maintenance work in Hong Kong.The “Urban Forestry Support Fund - Trainee Programme” follows the “first-hire-then-train” principle, and will provide a training allowance of about 30 per cent of agreed monthly remuneration levels to the trainees through their employers, as well as a bonus of $30,000 and $20,000 upon their acquisition of recognised arborist or tree climber professional qualifications respectively. The training periods for arborist and tree climber trainees are three years and 18 months respectively.Eligible employers are invited to participate in the Trainee Programme to take in arborist and tree climber trainees at agreed or higher remuneration levels (including the training allowances provided under the programme). They are also required to provide structured training that meets stipulated requirements. About the Programme Monthly training allowanceArborist Trainees $4,500* Tree Climber Trainees $5,000*Starting monthly pay point (including monthly training allowance) Arborist Trainees $14,500* Tree Climber Trainees $15,000*Bonus (upon completion of training and acquisition of recognised professional qualification) Arborist Trainees $30,000 Tree Climber Trainees $20,000Training periodArborist Trainees 3 yearsTree Climber Trainees 18 months*The amounts are subject to adjustment by the Construction Industry Council upon completion of each year of training with consideration of factors including inflation.Eligibility (Employers - Applicants)- Arboriculture, tree management and landscape companies with active tree inspection and/or tree work related contract(s) for the Government or the private sector of duration not less than one year or organisations managing a substantial amount of tree assset; and- Have the following employees in the company: (For engaging Arborist Trainees) At least 1 arborist who meets the requirement for the training tutor of Arborist Trainee (For engaging Tree Climber Trainees) At least 1 tree climber who meets the requirement for the training tutor of Tree Climber Trainee Eligibility (Trainees - Employees)- Hong Kong residents- Graduates of local arboriculture, tree management and tree work programmes at: (For engaging Arborist Trainees) Level 3 to Level 5 of the Qualifications Framework (For engaging Tree Climber Trainees) Level 3 to Level 4 of the Qualifications Framework- Have not possessed any recognised professional qualifications Eligibility (Training Tutors - to be provided by employers)Training Tutors of Arborist Trainees- HKQF Level 4 or above in arboriculture related academic qualification; and- Professional qualification in arboriculture; and- Completed and passed tree risk assessment and management training course organised or recognised by the Tree Management Office; and - Received relevant occupational safey and health training relating to tree work operation; and - At least 7 years of work experience in tree care and familiar with tree risk assessment and managementTraining Tutors of Tree Climber Trainees- Received relevant occupational safey and health training relating to tree work operation; and- Completed training in tree work operations (including tree climbing (rope access), use of chainsaw and aerial rescue); and- At least 3 years of work experience in tree care and tree climbingThe programme accepts applications throughout the year. The relevant application form and training framework document can be downloaded from the website of the Construction Industry Council. Here below is the sharing of students, employers and training tutors from the Urban Forestry Support Fund - Trainee Programme. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese)
Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme
In recent years, green and sustainability issues have been gaining much attention in the international community. Hong Kong is also firmly committed to promoting green and sustainable finance (GSF) to address climate-related financial risks, and raise market awareness as well as participation. In order to strengthen Hong Kong market players’ capacity on GSF, there is a critical need to expand the talent pool and enhance the capacity building for practitioners as well as prospective practitioners. The Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme (Scheme) aims to support talent development in GSF by providing subsidies to market practitioners as well as prospective practitioners in taking up relevant training and acquiring relevant professional qualifications. The Scheme will run for a pilot period of three years and is administered by the Secretariat of the Centre for Green and Sustainable Finance (Secretariat). Eligibility Requirement The Pilot Scheme is open for application by Hong Kong residents who are market practitioners and prospective practitioners of green and sustainable finance, namely students and graduates in relevant disciplines. After completing eligible programmes, applicants can apply for a subsidy of up to 80 per cent of the relevant fees (full-time student applicants can apply for a subsidy of up to 100 per cent of the relevant fees), subject to a ceiling of $10,000. Application procedures Details including the eligibility requirements, procedures for subsidy applications, and the list of eligible programmes are available on the Pilot Scheme's website.
[Subsidy] Any Subsidy for Studying in the Mainland?
Definitely! There is a subsidy scheme for Hong Kong students who are pursuing studies in the Mainland. To ensure that no students will be deprived of post-secondary education for financial reasons, the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme (MUSSS) is available for Hong Kong students. Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme The MUSSS is available for eligible Hong Kong students pursuing undergraduate studies in 191 designated Mainland institutions. The MUSSS comprises two components: “means-tested subsidy” and “non-means-tested subsidy”. The subsidised period is the normal duration of the undergraduate programme pursued by the student concerned in a designated Mainland institution, and the subsidy is granted on a yearly basis. Eligible applicants can only receive either a means-tested subsidy or a non-means-tested subsidy in a given academic year. The MUSSS is not subject to any quota. Application Procedures Students may submit applications through the MUSSS Electronic Application Platform or by post. New applicants must submit their applications via the MUSSS Electronic Application Platform or send the completed application forms and supporting documents by post to the Education Bureau on or before 30 September 2022. Details of the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme>> Application of the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme>> Higher education institutions in the Mainland also offer their own scholarships, grants, fee remission, etc. For details and requirements, please refer to the information from individual institutions. Source: Education Bureau - Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme
[Subsidy] Subsidy Schemes for Local Studies
If you decide to continue your study locally and need financial supports, no worry! You can pay attention to the following financial assistance schemes provided by the Student Finance Office of Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency. You can also use the tool “What am I eligible for?” to sort out the assistance scheme(s) which you may apply for and to calculate the estimated amount/level of assistance. 1. Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS) For students taking up exclusively UGC-funded or publicly-funded full-time programmes. 2. Non-Means-Tested Loan Scheme for Full-time Tertiary Students (NLSFT) For students pursuing programmes covered under the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS). 3. Financial Assistance Scheme for Post-secondary Students (FASP) For students taking up full-time, locally-accredited, self-financing post-secondary education programmes. 4. Non-means-tested Loan Scheme for Post-secondary Students (NLSPS) For students pursuing programmes covered under the Financial Assistance Scheme for Post-secondary Students (FASP). 5. Extended Non-Means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) For students pursuing specific post-secondary / continuing and professional education courses provided in Hong Kong 6. Student Travel Subsidy for Tertiary or Post-secondary Students For successful applicants of TSFS and FASP, attend full-time day courses up to first degree level and reside beyond 10 minutes walking distance from student’s normal place of study and travel to school by public transportation. Continuing Education Fund The Continuing Education Fund (CEF) subsidises adults who aspire to further their education through continuing education and training courses. Eligible applicants may submit an unlimited number of claims for reimbursement of course fees on successful completion of CEF reimbursable courses up to a maximum sum of HK$25,000. The co-payment ratios by learners (i.e. the percentage of course fee to be borne by learners) for the first HK$10,000 subsidy is 20% of the course fee and that for the remaining HK$15,000 subsidy is 40% of the course fee. Financial Assistance Scheme for Designated Evening Adult Education Courses Under the Financial Assistance Scheme for Designated Evening Adult Education Courses, you can be entitled to 30%, 50% or 100% reimbursement of the tuition fee paid, subject to meeting the prescribed criteria. Subsidy Scheme for Further Studies in the Mainland Students who are interested in applying to the Mainland higher education institutions, you may refer to [Subsidy] Any subsidy for Studying in the Mainland? for more information. Source: Student Finance Office of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency
Launching the Study Sponsorship Scheme to nurture arboriculture practitioners
With growing concerns over tree management and maintenance in the society, the Government has recognised the need to nurture more talents with related knowledge and skills. The Development Bureau (DEVB) announced that the Study Sponsorship Scheme (the Scheme) under the Urban Forestry Support Fund (the Fund) is open for application to encourage more youngsters to join the arboriculture and horticulture industry, so as to build up the industry's strength and capability to keep our urban forest healthy, thereby protecting public safety. Here we have invited a youngster who has applied for the study sponsorship to share with us his experience in undertaking an arboriculture programme. Meanwhile, a colleague of the Greening, Landscape and Tree Management Section (GLTMS) of the DEVB and a lecturer of an educational institute will talk to us about the details of the Scheme and the training of arboriculture practitioners.Providing sponsorships for the training of arborists and tree workersThe Fund, launched by the DEVB this year, offers training for people who aspire to join the arboriculture and horticulture industry, so as to uplift the professional standards of the practitioners as a whole and thus to ensure tree management quality. Earlier, the Scheme under the Fund was open for application to sponsor the training of youngsters to become arborists and tree workers. Under the Scheme, study sponsorship will be offered to applicants who undertake and complete recognised arboriculture, tree management and tree work programmes at Level 2 to Level 5 of the Qualifications Framework (QF) offered by local vocational, tertiary and training institutions.Full of opportunities in the arboriculture industryMr LEUNG Yat-fat enrolled in the Certificate in Integrated Tree Climbing course offered by the Tree Climbing Hong Kong and spent about three months to complete the course. Techniques such as tree climbing and how to work safely on trees were taught in the course. He says that safety is the top priority in arboriculture training. Before attempting to climb trees, students will first practise on a wooden structure made of iron pipes and bamboo sticks. Tree climbing is a relatively high-intensity physical activity and muscles of the whole body are involved. Sometimes students may feel as if they are having a heat stroke when climbing under the boiling sun. However, as long as one follows the steps and has a strong will, one can adapt gradually.Mr LEUNG Yat-fat believes that the arboriculture and horticulture industry is full of opportunities. After Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018, the Government has injected more resources to facilitate the sustainable development of the industry, which means there will be more job and promotion opportunities. Upon assessment, he has obtained a recognised qualification at QF Level 3. In order to enrich himself with more arboriculture skills, he has seized the opportunity offered by the Scheme to enrol in the course of Certificate in Petrol Chainsaw Use and Maintenance and Tree Trimming , and will apply for study sponsorship. Benefitting around 300 students per cohortMr TSANG Kwok-on, a Tree Management Officer of the GLTMS, DEVB, says there is a manpower shortage in the arboriculture and horticulture industry and the shortage of arborists and tree workers is more serious. The DEVB estimated that there were around 2 300 arboriculture practitioners in Hong Kong as at 2015 and the Scheme will benefit around 300 students per cohort to help nurture adequate and quality practitioners to support local tree management and maintenance work.Subsidies attracting enrolment of young peopleLecturer of the Department of Applied Science of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Shatin), Mr HO Ka-chai, Chris, welcomes the Scheme provided by the DEVB, which will attract more youngsters to enrol in related courses and join the industry. Apart from offering programme in the Higher Diploma in Conservation and Tree Management, the institute also provides part-time programmes for practitioners, covering various aspects such as tree work supervision, tree climbing, chainsaw training, etc., and offering 20 to 80 places each year. He encourages youngsters who are interested in arboriculture and horticulture to enrol in these programmes. In particular, arboriculture work involves operations in different environments and is suitable for youngsters who like challenges, natural environment and outdoor activities. Trainee Programme to train arborists and tree climbersFurthermore, the Trainee Programme under the Fund was open for application from employers earlier (10 August), with a view to encouraging employers to engage arboriculture and tree management graduates and offer them on-the-job training to acquire working experience, paving the way for qualified arborists and tree climbers in the future. The programme is expected to benefit around 100 related graduates each year.The arboriculture and horticulture industry in Hong Kong is young and evolving, which offers youngsters good opportunities for self-enhancement and career development. With the Fund mentioned above, we will continue to promote the healthy and sustainable development of the industry and uplift the professional standards of the practitioners, thereby keeping our urban forest healthy and promoting a more liveable environment. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
[#BackToSchool] Subsidy & Scholarship Schemes for Local Studies
At the beginning of a new academic year, you may have started planning about your colourful tertiary school life. However, please don’t forget to pay proper attention to your financial plans so as to achieve your goals for your tertiary education. Student Finance Office of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency provides various schemes ranging from financial assistance, scholarships to merit award schemes. You can also use the tool “What am I eligible for?” to sort out the assistance scheme(s) which you may apply for and to calculate the estimated amount/level of assistance. Student Finance Office provides you with a Scheme Finder to search for other Scholarships, Grants & Loans Schemes. Moreover, our website also lists out the useful links of Financial Assistance for Tertiary Students. To learn more about the application processes of the various schemes, relevant videos on the SFO YouTube Channel are handy shortcuts.
What financial assistance are available for Diploma Yi Jin students?
Full-time or Part-time Diploma Yi Jin students can obtain 30%, 50% or 100% reimbursement of the tuition fees paid if they fulfill the prescribed eligibility criteria after the end of each school year. In the 2020/21 school year, full-time DYJ students who pass the means test administrated by the Student Finance Office (SFO) and are assessed as eligible for full or half level of assistance will also be disbursed with the flat-rate academic expense grant automatically. Separate application is not required. The amount of flat-rate academic expense grant is on par with the flat-rate grant receivable by primary and secondary students under the School Textbook Assistance Scheme. Eligibility[Reimbursement of 30% Tuition Fees Paid]Both full-time and part-time eligible DYJ students will receive reimbursement of 30% of the tuition fees paid for each satisfactorily completed subject, provided that they attained an overall pass in the subject and achieved 80% attendance or above for the subject as confirmed by the institutions.The subjects must be essential for the completion of the DYJ programme, and under the programme a student can only receive tuition fee reimbursement for a maximum of 8 subjects.The reimbursement is subject-based. Students who have failed in individual subjects are still eligible for tuition fee reimbursement for the other subjects in respect of which they have attained an overall pass.[Full/Half Fee Reimbursement]To further assist needy DYJ students who meet the criteria described above, 50% or 100% reimbursement of the tuition fees paid for each satisfactorily completed subject will be made, provided that the student has:1. passed the means test;2. obtained an Eligibility Certificate (EC) issued by the SFO indicating that he / she is eligible for "FULL" or "HALF" level of assistance; and3. submitted the completed EC to his / her institution for verification of the student’s enrolment information.Application Deadline - In general, the SFO will not accept any Household Application for Student Financial Assistance Schemes for the 2020/21 school year submitted on or after 1 March 2021.- If applicants need to apply for fee reimbursement on or after 1 March 2021 for their children attending part-time DYJ courses commencing during the period from 1 March 2021 to 31 May 2021, they should approach relevant institutions for details of the application procedures and the deadlines. They should also submit application documents to the institutions, for onward submission to the SFO for processing. Please visit Student Finance Officer website for details.
Study sponsorships open to nurture young arborists and tree workers
Amongst different jobs in the arboriculture and horticulture industry, arborists and frontline tree workers, who are respectively responsible for tree inspection and various tree work, are the two most important and needed ones. The quality of our tree management work hinges on the service performance of these professionals. To encourage more people, especially youngsters, to join the industry as arborists and tree workers, the Study Sponsorship Scheme provides financial incentives, i.e. sponsorship and scholarship, to encourage eligible students and practitioners to undertake arboriculture, tree management and tree work programmes offered by local vocational, tertiary and training institutions. Under the scheme, study sponsorships will be offered to applicants who undertake and complete recognised arboriculture, tree management and tree works programmes at Qualifications Framework (QF) Level 2 to 5 offered by local vocational, tertiary and training institutions. The sponsorship amount is 50% of the tuition fee or $20,000, for arboriculture and tree management programmes, while for tree works programmes it is 70% of the tuition fee or $6,000. Scholarships will be offered to students who have attained at least 20 total grade points in the five best subjects in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination and will undertake and complete recognised full-time arboriculture and tree management programmes at QF Level 5. The scholarship amount is the total tuition fee or $50,000, for each academic year of the programmes. Accepting applications throughout the year. Please visit the official website for application and notes.
Subsidy to benefit more than 2000 sub-degree students!
Scope of the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) was expanded from the 2019-20 academic year to benefit students enrolling in designated sub-degree programmes . To meet keen manpower demand in specific industries, the scheme will subsidise a total 2 416 places in 31 sub-degree programmes of six post-secondary institutions, namely Caritas Bianchi College of Careers, HKU SPACE Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Community College, Hong Kong College of Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong (including Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education), Tung Wah College and YMCA College of Careers, for the 2020/21 academic year. These 31 designated sub-degree programmes fall under six disciplines, namely architecture and engineering, computer science, creative industries, health care, sports and recreation, and tourism and hospitality. The subsidy amounts will be adjusted according to the movement of the Composite Consumer Price Index. The annual subsidy amounts for laboratory-based programmes and non-laboratory-based programmes will be increased to $37 300 and $21 400 respectively. Eligible students will pay tuition fees after netting off the subsidy. The tuition fee and more information of the programmes for the 2020/21 academic year will be available via SSSDP webpage.