Powering up matching needs

//vol.13-1 Interview

  • The past 12 months have been very tough on young people looking for work and have also had a very significant impact on employers.
  • Ms Quince Chong of CLP explains how the company has responded to the situation by efforts to match up its internship programmes to the demand for job training.
  • She says potential applicants in this very competitive field should be hardworking and excited about taking on new challenges but also have good communication and interpersonal skills.

 

How has CLP’s internship programme grown?

The programme was established in 1998 offering full-time hands-on work experience to university students. It covers a wide range of project scopes for students in different study disciplines. They work with dedicated mentors and experienced subject professionals, acquiring new skills and abilities that enhance their profiles.

The programme is split into different parts. One is for summer interns and another is a 12-month sandwich programme. The aim is to create a win-win-win situation that benefits the students, the universities and CLP by building long-term partnerships. We identify and nurture young, talented people who work on specific projects, gaining valuable and practical experience as well as great sense of achievement.

 

We utilize digital platforms for collaboration and provide necessary laptop devices for interns during work from home mode.

 

CLP has many different internship projects. How do you decide on the subject areas?

We need subject specialists from different disciplines and subject areas, including both engineering and non-engineering. All the internship projects reflect our business operation needs. Interns are assigned to specific well designed projects with clear project outlines. These state the business objectives, project deliverables and learning outcomes. Students can access this information when applying for our internship programme.

 

How popular are the subject areas with applicants, eg nuclear power, sustainability, mechanical engineering and energy engineering?

We receive a large number of applications every year. Among the applications received in 2020, the top five project choices made by students were Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology.

 

In which ways did the CLP programme change in 2020 to cope with the pandemic?

The COVID-19 outbreak has seriously impacted Hong Kong’s economy and CLP understands how uncertain young people may feel about the future and the difficulties they may face when entering the job market.

We launched a new CLP Graduate Internship Programme, as well as those mentioned above to try to meet needs. It offers 60 one-year practical work and internship opportunities for 2020 fresh graduates. These internships help the young people understand the power industry better, gain practical experience. The types of jobs include not only engineering, but also positions in environmental affairs, information technology, sales and marketing etc.

 

Were you able to increase the number of internships?

Yes, we increased the number of internship openings for undergraduates in 2020, allowing more youngsters to scale up their working experience and get prepared for career journeys even amid the pandemic. A total of 123 openings for 59 sandwich interns and 64 summer interns were offered in 2020 whereas there was only a total of 108 openings in 2019.

Together with the new CLP Graduate Internship Programme, and our other regular trainee programmes, a total of around 130 positions have been offered to fresh graduates and graduate students in 2020, more than double the total for 2019.

 

Have you been able to go ahead with plans for internships in the Greater Bay Area?

Yes, despite the pandemic, we are able to offer six vacancies in 2021 in our China Business Unit for the Greater Bay Area (GBA) Youth Employment Scheme organized by the HKSAR Government.

To encourage and support young people’s work and careers in mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area, there have also been job opportunities for university graduates from 2019 to 2021 for 18 months. The jobs cover several functions such as Asset Management (Renewable), Commercial, Finance, Health, Safety, Security and Environment, Human Resources and Information Technology.

 

We need employees who are excited about taking on new challenges and who want to keep learning, growing and equipping themselves.

 

How did you and the interns manage social distancing?

To minimize the risk of infection, CLP adopts different arrangements for both the recruitment process and the working mode of internships while closely monitoring the situation. For instance, recruitment interviews are conducted via virtual meetings. For the working mode, we utilize digital platforms for collaboration and provide necessary laptop devices for interns during work from home mode.

In the GBA Youth Employment Scheme, we allow the graduates to immerse themselves online. They will be given learning opportunities and engagements with our company that provide them with excellent exposure and experience throughout the 18-month scheme.

 

What are your top priorities when selecting students or graduates for internships?

Apart from the basic requirements of being hardworking, diligent, proactive and detail-oriented, we also need employees who are excited about taking on new challenges and who want to keep learning, growing and equipping themselves to master the latest technology.

Nowadays, science and technology are developing at a rapid pace and in the changing economic environment we also look for new joiners who have good communication and interpersonal skills, love working with others to solve problems, who are innovative and have both an open mindset and the desire to make a difference.

We hope that our employees will be passionate about the power industry and be proud of serving people, improving their quality of life and promoting social development. In view of the professionalism of electric power engineering and the importance of safety, we also expect employees to have high safety awareness and alertness, willingness to work as a team, and ability to follow the rules and guidelines laid down by the company.

For our GBA Youth Employment Scheme, we welcome interested applicants to get exposure to work and live in the GBA. They should be intellectually curious, innovative and adaptive to different cultures and working styles. They also need to be able to think out of the box with strong problem-solving and communication capabilities.

 

Do you liaise with universities or do you also receive enquiries directly from students?

Besides putting advertisements on recruitment platforms, CLP’s webpage and social media, we also work closely with the local universities to promote the local internship programme. For the GBA Youth Employment Scheme, advertisements can be found on the GBA Youth Employment Scheme website managed by Labour Department. Students are also welcome to contact us directly with any enquiries about internships

 

How many of your summer and sandwich interns, respectively, are subsequently hired?

Around 30 full-time staff who had previous internship experience at CLP joined us in the last five years. 90% of them are currently working under Power Systems and Generation Business Groups and over 65% are now our Engineers II and Assistant Engineers.

 

What initiatives do you have in mind for future?

CLP aspires to become the “Utility of the Future” focusing on innovation, decarbonisation and digitalization. We are inviting young talents to be part of our workforce to join this exciting transformation journey. By offering various opportunities, we continue to support students in embracing change and nurturing a people-centric innovation culture.

For CLP, diversity is a business focus. We hope to attract the best talent from the widest possible candidate pool. We value and respect differences, encourage everyone’s participation and are open to ideas, issues and concerns raised by anyone. We believe that the new ideas and perspectives needed to transform our business in future will come from diverse teams, working together.

 

The top five project choices made by students were mechanical and electrical engineering, finance, human resources and information technology.

 


Ms Quince Chong, JP, is the Chief Corporate Development Officer at CLP Power HK Ltd