The Workplace English Campaign (WEC) steered by the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) invites applications from companies for grants to organise in-house tailor-made English training programmes leading to specified international business English examinations for their employees.
"Effective from 1 January 2005, funding will be given under the Campaign's Funding Scheme for Workplace English Training to meet 50% of the employees' English training cost and examination fees, subject to a maximum of $3,000 per person," a SCOLAR spokesman said today (27 December).
The Funding Scheme was launched in 2000 with an allocation of $50 million from the Language Fund to subsidise employees who need to use English in the workplace to take the necessary training in order to attain the relevant Hong Kong Workplace English Benchmarks (HKWEB) of their job type by taking any of the international business English examinations specified by WEC.
Following a review of the Scheme conducted in early 2004, SCOLAR announced on 13 January 2004 that starting in 2005, the Funding Scheme would focus on supporting the provision of in-house tailor-made English training commissioned by employers for their employees.
"With this new focus in place and the well-established system for individuals to apply to the Government's Continuing Education Fund for a maximum subsidy of $10,000 for training in English and other work-related skills, applications by employees or by companies on behalf of their employees for grants to attend English training courses offered in the market will no longer be accepted," the spokesman said.
"Individuals interested to apply for grants for courses offered in the market must submit their application to the Office of WEC (OWEC) on or before 31 December 2004. Submissions made in person must reach OWEC by 4:00 p.m. on that day," he stressed.
Applications for grants for in-house tailor-made English training programmes will be accepted by OWEC starting on 1 January 2005 (applications are subject to the availability of funds allocated to the Scheme and any future review by SCOLAR on the Scheme). Application forms and Guidelines for Application will be available for download at the WEC website (http://www.english.gov.hk) on the same day.
Prior to the application, applicants should submit to OWEC a copy of the course description of the in-house tailor-made training course, setting out how the course is designed specially to meet the needs of the employees of the applying company.
The Funding Scheme will subsidise each employee for no more than one in-house tailor-made training course and two examinations for the attainment of at the most one spoken benchmark and one written benchmark.
To provide more alternatives in attaining HKWEB, WEC has recently added six international English examinations to its examination pool to make up a total of 23. Employers are recommended to review their needs in selecting the most appropriate examination for their employees. More information is available on the WEC website.
For further details on the Funding Scheme, please refer to its Guidelines for Application, the WEC website or contact OWEC at the enquiry hotline at 2186 8800.
WEC was launched by the Government in 2000 with the aim of heightening public awareness of the importance of workplace English and raising the standard of English among the Hong Kong workforce.
It is a Language Fund project steered by SCOLAR, which was established in 1996 to advise the Government on language education issues and the use of the Language Fund.