Industrial Attachment Scheme flourishes in the new era

Grace Ho

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The Industrial Attachment Scheme (IAS) organized by the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) has entered its third successful year. And despite the economic downturn and soaring unemployment rate, the scheme has successfully secured 30% more job training placements than last year. A further indication of the scheme's success is that the number of participating companies has doubled, providing a wide spectrum of work areas for our students.

The IAS is a nine-week programme designed to expose students to the functioning of sizeable corporations and different work cultures, and to instil in them appropriate attitudes to work and a sense of

professionalism. "The IAS acquaints our students with real-life work settings, and gets them in tune with the industrial and economic culture. The scheme benefits our students in terms of knowledge, attitude and the broader outlook expected of today's engineers," said Professor Roderick Wong, FSE Dean.

"Future industrialists should have a good knowledge of both Hong Kong and the mainland. I hope students will treasure these valuable and rewarding training opportunities offered by our industrial partners," he added.

 

 

Looking to the future, the FSE aims to extend the Scheme beyond Southern China to emergent high-tech centres in the north, like Shanghai, Suzhou and Nanjing. "Multinational corporations like Astec, Nokia and WKK have already indicated they are willing to take on CityU students in their branch offices in Beijing, Chengdu and Fuzhou, as 

long as students are willing to travel far and meet the challenge," said Mr K T Ng, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering and Faculty Coordinator of the IAS. "The Faculty is confident that with the good relationship we have built up with industry, and provided that we have sufficient resources, this is not a dream beyond our reach."

 

 

The IAS has other plans in the pipeline: a number of partner companies has requested that FSE incorporate the IAS into its students' final year projects and also extend the period of industrial attachment, in the form of a co-opt programme.

 

 

To combine the IAS with the final year project, CityU's academic staff will have to work closely with company mentors to ensure that the arrangement fulfils the requirements of both parties. This arrangement has been successful in several cases over the past two years and more instances are expected this year.

 

 

The Faculty is also preparing to launch co-opt programmes. A pilot run for five to 10 students will start in January 2003 with the support of SAE Magnetics (HK) Ltd. These final year students will begin their industrial attachment in January 2003, after finishing Semester A. They will spend a year with the company, during which time they may return to CityU for classes once a week, if necessary. By the time the students finish their industrial attachment, they will have also completed all the graduation requirements, which means they can stay with the company should there be any vacancies. If the pilot run proves to be successful, the Faculty will expand the scope of the co-opt mode to cover more programmes.

The IAS is currently run by a committee under the chairmanship of Professor C H Chan, Chair Professor of Electronic Engineering and Associate Dean of the Faculty. The committee is dedicated to pushing the scheme to its next milestone. "We hope that the IAS can eventually become a 'trademark'of FSE, signifying that all our students are well-equipped to meet the challenges ahead," Professor Wong said. 

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