Industrial attachment thrives despite SARS

Shuyee Chen


While most universities put a hold on their summer internship programmes because of SARS, CityU has secured 348 job training placements in 112 companies in Hong Kong and the Mainland this year. The placements, for year-two students from three faculties, represent a significant increase over last year's 240 placements in 64 companies. Standard Chartered Bank, Sogo Hong Kong Co. Ltd and Maunsell Consultants Asia Ltd are among the new companies involved in the programme.

"Despite the special challenge we faced this year, all of us should be very proud of what we've accomplished," said Professor Roderick Wong, Dean of Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), at the opening ceremony of this year's Industrial Attachment Scheme (IAS) on 29 May, organized by FSE's Co-operative Education Centre. "This is the first year that the scheme has expanded to include students from other faculties--the Faculty of Business and the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences. It is also the first time that the scheme has crossed the border beyond Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta," he added. Professor Wong believes that the two-month internship experience sets a solid foundation for the students' future career development.



"Working with colleagues and supervisors posts a life-long challenge for many people. It should be the first thing you strive to learn," said Mr Measure Hung, a guest speaker at the function and chairman and managing director of Mobicon Group Ltd. Over the years, Mr Hung has seen many talented young people move from job to job because of an inability to deal with colleagues adequately. It proves the importance, he reminded the audience, of learning to work effectively with people as early as possible.

At the ceremony, 20 participants were each presented with a "Certificate of Merit" for their outstanding performance during last summer's internship. "It was a great experience to be able to work as a student," said Mr Lap Ho-choi, from the Department of Computer Engineering and Information Technology. Mr Choi worked at Dongguan Nokia Mobile Phones Co., Ltd . "We learned so much, especially the interpersonal skills that will help us develop good relationships with our colleagues."



In the ceremony's closing speech, Professor Paul Lam of the Department of Biology and Chemistry and chairman of the Committee for IAS 2003, enlightened the students about what the acronym "IAS" could stand for: independence, adaptability and skills. He hoped to see the students return from their training with these three qualities.

Launched in 2000, the FSE's Industrial Attachment Scheme aims to enhance students' out-of-classroom learning experience and foster close ties with industrial partners. "One of the key elements in the success of our IAS programme is that the teachers conduct three on-site visits for each student," noted Mr Silas Foo, Laboratory Manager of the Co-operative Education Centre. This practice encourages the students to do their best and raises the companies' confidence in the programme. "The excellent performance of the scheme's participants over the past three years," said Mr Foo, "has been a major reason for its success this year."




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