To help alleviate the manpower shortage in Hong Kong’s healthcare and rehabilitation sectors, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) of HKSAR Government, in collaboration with PolyU and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has been offering a Training Sponsorship Scheme since 2012. Under the scheme, SWD provides funding support for NGOs to sponsor students’ tuition fees for enrolling in a two-year full-time entry-level master’s degree programme either in occupational therapy (MOT) or physiotherapy (MPT) offered by PolyU. Upon graduation, students will be required to work at the NGOs with which they have signed up for three consecutive years.


So far, more than 250 students have been trained under the scheme. Professor Hector Tsang, Cally Kwong Mei Wan Professor in Psychosocial Health, Chair Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences and Head of PolyU’s Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, said: “Students were admitted in alternate years in the previous four cohorts from 2012 to 2020. In view of the favourable feedback from the social welfare sector, we have decided to offer the programmes on an annual basis from 2021 to 2023.” Forty-eight funded places in both the MOT and MPT programmes will be offered annually to bachelor’s degree holders who have obtained credits in the subjects of human physiology and human anatomy.


“It is gratifying that more than 65% of the participating students of the first two cohorts continue to serve in the NGOs after completing their post-graduation service. We are pleased to extend the scheme to provide sponsorship to more than 290 students in total,” said Mr Gordon Leung Chung-tai, Director of Social Welfare, HKSAR Government.


Mr Peter Auyeung, Chief Executive Officer of Heep Hong Society, said their organisation had greatly benefited from the Training Sponsorship Scheme. “We are delighted that PolyU and SWD offer NGOs strong support by training more occupational therapists and physiotherapists. I am impressed by the graduates’ passion for serving people in need.”


Over the years, PolyU has played an instrumental role in nurturing talent so as to meet the changing needs of different sectors in the community. This scheme is a good testament to PolyU’s fruitful collaboration with the Government and the industry to address societal needs. The MOT and MPT programmes also open up another career path for young people who wish to realise their aspirations of serving the community as qualified therapists.