VII. Connecting with Young People
262. Young people are our future. They are the most energetic and creative generation in our society and they possess the greatest potential to drive the development of our society. I recognise that young people have very different talents and aspirations. As such, we should support them in fully realising their potential. We appreciate that young people have great hopes and aspirations for the future of Hong Kong and possess diverse views on the current situation. Our community should understand more about their feelings and needs, give them more support and create room for them to realise their potential. In the next five years, we will strive to do our best in youth development work by addressing their concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encouraging their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate. In so doing, the younger generation will see hope and opportunities for upward mobility. This will, in turn, help address deep-rooted social conflicts. Young people should also be given more opportunities to participate in public affairs so that the Government can better understand their views and suggestions and take them into account.
Youth Development Commission
263. The Youth Development Commission, to be chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, will be set up in the first half of 2018 to enhance policy co-ordination within the Government. This would enable holistic and more effective examination of, and discussion on issues of concern to young people. This will also promote collaboration across bureaux and departments in the implementation of policy initiatives agreed by the Commission. In addition, I will chair youth summits to examine the outcome of the Commission’s work jointly with stakeholders and listen to the views of young people.
Stepping up Communication with Young People
264. We strive to enhance communication with young people. My political team and myself, will listen and respond to the views and aspirations of young people through different channels, such as regular school visits to meet students and listen to their views. Through these activities, we can show more care, listen more, take more concrete action and interact more with young people. We will also make good use of various channels, including making better use of social media and online platforms, to connect with youngsters so that the Government will be able to attain a better understanding of their ideas and proposals and take them on board in a more effective manner. Furthermore, the HAB will launch a “Youth Ambassadors” scheme and reinforce the district youth networks in the 18 districts. We will continue to step up effort in the promotion of youth development and enhancement of liaison and communication with young people at different levels.
Participation of Young People in Policy Discussion
265. As mentioned earlier, we will appoint more young people to various government boards and committees with the aim of increasing the overall ratio of youth members (i.e. persons who are aged between 18 and 35) to 15% within the current-term Government. As a start, we will invite young people to become members of specified boards and committees by self-recommendation through the pilot member self-recommendation scheme.
Participation of Young People in Politics
266. The Government will recruit 20 to 30 young people aspiring to pursue a career in policy research as well as policy and project co-ordination to join the proposed Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit on a non-civil service contract basis, so that they can gain experience in public administration and the voices of young people can be heard at senior levels of the Government. We expect that those recruited will be able to start participating in the work of the proposed Unit when it formally commences operation.
Expectation on Young People
267. Young people should develop a positive outlook to life, a commitment to society, a sense of national identity, a love for Hong Kong and an international perspective. The Government will enhance collaboration with various community organisations, in particular uniformed groups and volunteer organisations, to provide more opportunities for young people to participate in community affairs and to serve the community. This would instil in them a positive attitude towards life and perseverance. Besides, exchange and internship schemes in the Mainland and overseas in various formats and on different themes will be organised. Through these schemes, we seek to enhance young people’s understanding of the prevailing economic, social and cultural landscape at the national and international levels, and promote their acceptance of different cultures through exchanges with young people from the Mainland and overseas.
Scholarship for Excellence Scheme
268. Starting from the 2019/20 school year, we will regularise the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme to continue to support up to 100 outstanding local students per cohort to pursue studies in world-renowned universities outside Hong Kong with a view to grooming a top cadre of talent with global vision, international network and world-class education. The graduates would contribute towards the long-term economic and social development of Hong Kong.
Overseas Internships Arranged by Economic and Trade Offices
269. In recent years, our overseas ETOs have arranged for Hong Kong higher education students to take up summer internships provided by different organisations in the countries under their purview. These internships help the students to gain an understanding of the work culture in different places and broaden their perspectives. The ETOs will continue to actively promote the scheme and encourage more organisations to participate in order to make available more opportunities for our students to take up overseas internships.
Enhanced Internship in the Mainland
270. We will continue to allocate additional resources to take forward and enhance various youth development programmes in the coming five years. In particular, more internship opportunities in the Mainland, the Belt and Road countries and other parts of the world will be provided for our young people. These internships aim to enhance their understanding of the work culture and career prospects in different places, allow them to establish interpersonal networks, broaden their horizons and assist their future career planning. The Youth Internship Programme at the Palace Museum and the Youth Internship Programme at Wolong National Nature Reserve, both held for the first time and completed in August this year, are good examples. These two programmes attracted the participation of Hong Kong young people who are interested in culture and nature conservation. Through the programmes, participants have gained more knowledge in the relevant disciplines and professional fields. They have also acquired a better understanding of the development of our country on various fronts. Looking ahead, we will provide more enhanced internship opportunities with special features in Mainland provinces and cities for young people in Hong Kong to deepen their understanding of the latest developments and opportunities in our country.
271. In order to provide more opportunities for our young people to appreciate different cultures and the development of other countries (including the Belt and Road countries), the Government will proactively sign more Working Holiday Scheme agreements with suitable countries. This would enable Hong Kong young people aged 18 to 30 to learn more about the local customs and culture as well as the social development of various countries through travelling, thus broadening their horizons.
Space Sharing Scheme for Youth
272. Many local enterprises have been actively fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities, with the objective of making a contribution to the community through concrete actions, in particular helping our young people. Through a “Community-Business-Government” tripartite partnership, we will implement a Space Sharing Scheme for Youth. The Scheme is a platform for owners of revitalised industrial buildings and commercial buildings to contribute floor areas for the operation of co-working space or studios, to support start-ups of emerging industries and young people who are starting their own businesses, and to support the development of arts and culture. Participating owners will rent out floor areas to suitable non-governmental organisations at a rent no more than one-third of the market rental for operating the co-working space or studios under the Scheme. Alternatively, they may operate such space directly on their own. The operators will provide a wide range of leasing options and supporting services for start-ups, young entrepreneurs and artists at a concessionary rent no higher than half of the market rental. We expect to roll out the first batch of about 60 000 square feet of shared space for youth in the first half of 2018. I appeal for the participation of more owners of revitalised industrial and commercial buildings in the scheme, in a bid to drive all sectors of the community to support young people in pursuing innovation and starting their own businesses.