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Engineers urged to think globally

Published on Friday, 07 Mar 2014
The MTR’s South Island Line project is one of the major infrastructure projects driving demand for construction professionals in Hong Kong.
Photo: KY Cheng
Raymond Chan
Joseph Choi

Thanks to a number of massive infrastructure projects instigated in Hong Kong over the last ten years, construction has become a spearhead of local economic development. This, in turn, has provided numerous opportunities for engineering graduates.

Raymond Chan, president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), also points out that the government's latest policy address has pumped more than HK$160 billion into construction, further boosting the sector.

Despite the rosy outlook in Hong Kong, however, Chan advises young people to think globally. "Hong Kong is a very small place. Engineers must have global vision," he says.

"There are many opportunities on the mainland, as the country continues to urbanise. As the demand for skyscrapers on the mainland is rising, there will be plenty of opportunities for engineering work related to building services. The professional qualifications granted by HKIE are recognised in many places around the world, allowing locally trained talent to develop their careers overseas."

Chan says that professionals who relocated a decade ago are enjoying considerable success after returning to Hong Kong. "In 2003, the local construction market went into a slump because of Sars, leaving many graduates without a job. Some of them chose to relocate to Dubai. They became very popular among employers, because of their experience," he says.

Joseph Choi, vice-president of the HKIE and managing director of Hsin Chong Construction Group, agrees that engineers need to be ready to work around the world.

"I have been to Macau, Singapore, Taiwan and the mainland. I always tell young people that you can do anything and you can do it anywhere. Don't limit yourself," he says.

Chan suggests that young people should work on their language skills and have long-term vision if they want to be successful. "Strong language skills in Cantonese, Putonghua and English are a must in the Hong Kong market. To be a leader in an organisation, you must also have a vision for the company," he says.

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