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NEW HORIZONS: Hong Kong’s new degree-level work-based qualification

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Hong Kong continues to pave the way for vocational training, thanks to its new qualification programme.

For too long vocational training has been seen as “second class” compared to an academic education. The challenge has been a lack of comparable qualifications, despite the often complex and detailed skills provided by work-based programmes. Thankfully, Hong Kong is showing how that needn’t be the case.

In Hong Kong, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) has introduced a degree-level Meister vocational qualification for lift and escalator technicians that is the first of its kind.

Developed with Skills Consulting Group, the Professional Diploma Meister in Lift and Escalator Engineering meets both industry need as well as Hong Kong’s rigorous qualification requirements.


VTC has always been committed to advancing vocational education, by growing knowledgeable and skilled talent in collaboration with industry. That’s why VTC stepped forward when the Government’s Task Force on Promotion of Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) issued a review report recommending that the development of vocational progression pathways for practitioners be explored.  VTC began to look at how it could build such a pathway, in the form of a professional skill-based qualification that could be acquired flexibly through a combination of vocational training at schools, workplace assessment, and in-service training.

The lift and escalator sector was selected to be the first trade for developing such a pathway given its significance to public safety and operation of the city, and the manpower shortage the sector faces.

The lift and escalator workforce in Hong Kong also features a large number of experienced Registered Lift Workers and Registered Escalator Workers, who for decades have lacked a value-borne progression pathway for their career advancement. While technicians can move on to engineering degrees, these often do not aim to provide the combined technical and managerial skills those workers need as technical managers and superintendents for their organisations.


To develop the qualification, VTC opted to work with Skills Consulting Group based on its extensive experience in developing innovative, work-based programmes.

We guided them through an industry-first approach, to ensure the qualification would provide the skills and knowledge the industry needs while still satisfying those qualification requirements.

The process involved mapping out the competence required from a Lift and Escalator Meister, then transforming that into a blended delivery model that placed work-based learning and assessment at its core.

We also supported VTC through the accreditation process so Hong Kong’s qualification authority could see how work-based learning was equally, if not more, effective than traditional academic methods.

The result is a world-leading, industry-developed programme that offers a pathway for Hong Kong’s most experienced lift and escalator technicians to upgrade their technical, managerial and pedagogical skills.


With the Professional Diploma Meister in Lift and Escalator Engineering accredited, VTC is already looking at incorporating Meister programmes into other trades.

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