SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
HKU recognizes that its staff and faculty are the backbone of the institution and its work. The University is committed to engage in responsible and fair employment practices that provide its employees with decent work in an environment free of discrimination. Employees are entitled to a living wage, a variety of benefits, support in professional development and the right to unions and collective bargaining.
One of the core responsibilities of a university is to prepare its students for a rewarding career. The Careers and Placement Section was established by the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) to nurture students into global talents with professional competencies and an entrepreneurial mindset. It offers services like one-on-one career advising, recruitment talks and preparation training to equip students with the resources they need to succeed. It also acts as a hub to connect employers with students for job placements in Hong Kong, Mainland China and abroad.
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of courses and research.
papers (in 2017)
Labor rights have been a long-standing issue in China, especially in the manufacturing industry. Global media has shed light on the exploitation of labor and poor working conditions in factories like Foxconn. The research by HKU’s Professor Pun Ngai into such workers’ rights violations drew widespread attention and prompted further investigations by partner NGOs. Her research focused on the little-known phenomenon of Foxconn using vocational school students as a new form of labor. To meet the urgent manufacturing needs of Apple, vocational schools actively supplied students as a major source of the cheap labor. The students are taken out of their term breaks or even their school year to be placed in jobs unrelated to their studies, with no professional development, that are demeaning and have low-pay and poor working conditions. Professor Pun’s research garnered support from local and international NGOs, one of which was Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM). Armed with the evidence provided in the research findings, in 2017, SACOM released a report called iSlave and launched a campaign to protest against Foxconn’s exploitation and to demand improvement of workers’ rights by Apple. Later in 2017, Apple admitted instances of student interns working overtime and that immediate action would be taken to end such practices. Professor Pun also built a knowledge hub called ‘Senseware’ to disseminate knowledge among the academic and public policy circles, NGOs, activists and student-workers through training sessions, online engagement and participatory action research. To date, over 50,000 workers have benefited directly from the learning curriculum.
Entrepreneurship and innovation are integral in achieving sustainable development. HKU encourages and empowers its students to dream big and realize their vision through the newly established iDendron – HKU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub – aimed to nurture an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit on campus. It offers resources such as events and co-working space to help students realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.
HKU also supports entrepreneurship through DreamCatchers – launched to inspire and prepare students for a career as an entrepreneur through a series of forums, mixers and events, while acting as a hub to connect students with entrepreneurs in the alumni and local community. Some of DreamCatchers’ most recent initiatives include the 100K Seed Fund to help students and graduates under the age of 35 kick start their startup ventures with cash prizes and co-working space membership. Applicants from all areas are encouraged, including business, technology, social innovations, cultural and media entrepreneurship. Another initiative is the DreamCatchers MedTech Hackathon, co-organized with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, targeting students and young professionals to come up with sustainable healthcare solutions through practices such as design thinking and Business Model Canvas. The weeklong event provides participants with the opportunity to brainstorm innovative ideas, learn from industry experts, gain experience in developing a prototype and finally, pitch their business ideas to investors from Hong Kong, Mainland China and Silicon Valley.