At the close of application on 15 May for the first phase of the Funding Scheme for Workplace English Training, more than 5 000 employees had been approved for funding, involving a commitment of about $7.5 million.
The Steering Committee on the Workplace English Campaign will start taking applications for the second phase of the Funding Scheme next month.
To enable more employees to benefit from the Funding Scheme, the Steering Committee has decided to make the conditions for funding more flexible. The following changes are introduced:
- Allowing applicants to take up to a maximum of three training courses, up to a maximum value of $1,500 per course and examination;
- Allowing applicants to re-sit examinations within a period of four months upon completion of the training course; and
- Allowing applicants to take a single-skill course and examination for either written or spoken benchmarks.
"The changes are introduced on the basis of feedback from applicants and are intended to provide greater flexibility and to enable more learners to benefit from the scheme," said the Chairman of the Steering Committee, Mr Michael Tien.
"We appreciate that applicants need more time to identify training courses and to register for the relevant examinations. No deadline will be set for applications, subject to the availability of funds on a first-come-first-served basis," Mr Tien added.
The new application form will be available at major post offices and district offices in mid June when the second phase of the Funding Scheme commences. The new form can also be downloaded from the Workplace English Campaign's website (http://www.english.gov.hk) from mid-June onwards.
As part of the year-long Workplace English Campaign, the Funding Scheme provides subsidies to meet 50% of employees' training costs and examination fees. Grants will be given to applicants in the form of reimbursement after they have completed a training course and attained the relevant English-language benchmarks by sitting specific English tests. Applications can be submitted by individual employees as well as by companies on behalf of their employees.