Rosy prospects for district councillor assistants
If you have a passion for politics, being a district councillor's assistant could be a good stepping stone. North District councillor Jiff Yiu Ming (below), of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), was a district councillor assistant before he himself became a district councillor in 2007.
He thinks the post is a chance to learn. "To be honest, the pay for an assistant is not attractive at all - only around HK$9,000 - but the prospects are promising for those who are into politics," he says. "Becoming a councillor is only one of the career prospects, others might move into different positions within the political party."
Yiu adds that as an assistant, one is able to interact with the public to learn about issues within the community, and participate in various meetings with government officials and other district councillors.
The job is a people's job, says Yiu, adding that he loves his job because of the special relationships he has developed.
Two of the main duties of an assistant are to answer the queries of residents and help the councillor host events for the community. The assistant has to be up-to-date with current affairs and government policies.
"The assistant has to read the news and go through minutes of government meetings to have an overview of policies to help residents understand them. The assistant has to be prepared," says Yiu.
Councillors often host seminars in the district to hear public feedback and inform them of new government policies. It is the job of the assistant to help with such events.
The official working hours are nine to six, five-and-a-half days per week, but overtime is common since seminars often take place at night.
Assistants should have had at least a tertiary education, but academic qualifications are not all-important. Having the heart to serve the community and patience are the prime qualities, says Yiu.