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Tuesday, Mar 02, 2021

Hospital offers free training to laid-off aviation staff after Cathay jobs cull

Hospital offers free training to laid-off aviation staff after Cathay jobs cull

Most of the 100 or so expected to take the six-week course will be hired as health care support workers under Union Hospital’s plans.

A private Hong Kong hospital says it will offer free training to at least 100 laid-off aviation workers to help them enter the health care industry, and expects to hire about 80 per cent of those completing the course.

Union Hospital appealed on Thursday to former staff including flight attendants and ground crew to apply for its care-related support worker programme, a day after Cathay Pacific Airways announced the city’s biggest jobs cut in three decades.

Axed aviation workers will have the HK$3,800 fee for the six-week long programme waived.

“We know this pandemic has affected airlines badly and it’s been tough for flight attendants. We hope we can help those who are interested in nursing change their lives and give them a way out,” said Dr Anthony Lee Kai-yiu, chief hospital manager and medical director of the Tai Wai institution.

The offer followed Cathay Pacific’s decision, revealed on Wednesday, to make 5,300 Hong Kong staff redundant, including 4,000 cabin crew, under a restructuring eliminating 8,500 posts worldwide to help the company survive the aviation slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

It will be extended to all Hong Kong aviation workers made redundant, not just former Cathay staff.

The hospital plans to hire about 80 per cent of them as health care support workers, with a starting salary of HK$15,000 per month.

Those completing the programme would also receive a certificate, which is recognised by the Hospital Authority and allows them to pursue jobs in other clinics and hospitals around the city.

The Union Hospital is waiving training fees for axed aviation workers.

Dr Ricky Yuen Wai-kit, principal of the hospital’s school of nursing, said the course aimed to train workers to help nurses and doctors with medical and nursing care, such as feeding and transporting patients, and taking their temperature.

Interested participants can apply via the hospital’s website and will go through an interview process, during which they will be asked about their interest in the health care sector and have their logical thinking assessed.

Skills picked up as a flight attendant are also relevant to nursing, according to Lee.

“The attitude of flight attendants towards customer service suits the medical sector,” he said. “If they are not afraid of hard work or getting into the medical field, it won’t be too challenging for them.”


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