Employees Retraining Board

Frequently Asked Questions









General questions


  1. Is the Employees Retraining Board a government department?

  2. Where does the funding for the Employees Retraining Board come from?

  3. Who are the service targets of the ERB?

  4. Is there any priority accorded to any particular service targets in the handling of applications?

  5. Are course fees required for attendance of ERB training courses?

  6. What are the eligibility criteria for retraining allowance?

  7. If an application is approved, when will the retraining allowance be paid?

  8. How to apply for course fee waiver or subsidies for attending non-placement-tied courses?

  9. Is enrolment considered successful upon submission of completed application form together with required supporting documents?

  10. What should be done if, after confirmation of course enrolment, circumstances do not allow an applicant to attend the course?

  11. What should be done if an applicant is unable to attend class or to attain 80% attendance on grounds of getting a job or other personal reasons e.g. illness or accident?

  12. What services do the ERB Service Centres provide?

  13. What services does the Practical Skills Training and Assessment Centre provide?

  14. How can I give my opinions on the ERB training services?

  15. Where can I obtain course information?


Training Courses


  1. What are placement-tied courses?

  2. What are generic skills training courses?

  3. What are Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus courses?

  4. What are special target group courses?

  5. What are courses for young people?


Placement follow-up service


  1. What are placement follow-up services?

  2. Why are placement follow-up services only provided to graduates of placement-tied courses?


Services for employers


  1. How can job matching and referral services offered by the Employees Retraining Board assist employers in recruitment?

  2. Is there a fee for recruiting graduate trainees through the ERB?

  3. Is there a fee for the employer to co-organise a tailor-made course with the ERB? What are the responsibilities involved?

  4. How do the employers register to employ the graduate trainees?




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General questions


  1. Is the Employees Retraining Board a government department?No. The Employees Retraining Board (ERB) is an independent statutory body established in 1992 under the Employees Retraining Ordinance.

  2. Where does the funding for the Employees Retraining Board come from?Operation of the ERB is funded by the Employees Retraining Fund (ERF). Recently, ERF comes mainly from the Employees Retraining Levy paid by employers of imported workers and foreign domestic helpers at a rate of HK$400 a month. The Chief Executive announced in his 2013 Policy Address the abolition of the Levy imposed on FDH employers when the suspension of its collection expired on 31 July 2013. To provide ERB with long-term funding support, the Financial Secretary proposed in the 2013-14 Budget an injection of $15 billion as seed money into ERB. The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved the injection of a sum of $15 billion into ERB on 24 January 2014.

  3. Who are the service targets of the ERB?The service targets of the ERB are those eligible employees aged 15 or above with an education attainment at sub-degree level or below. Being an "eligible employee" means the person has the right to stay in Hong Kong legally and can be employed by any employer without restrictions. They include permanent residents of Hong Kong and the new arrivals.

  4. Is there any priority accorded to any particular service targets in the handling of applications?Applications from people with disabilities or people recovered from work injuries, single parents, and recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) will be accorded priority, given that sufficient documentary proof has been provided.

  5. Are course fees required for attendance of ERB training courses?Placement-tied training courses targeted at the unemployed are provided free of charge by the ERB. Depending on their income level, people attending non-placement-tied courses, including generic skills courses and Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus courses, can apply for course fee waiver or subsidies. For details, please refer to the latest ERB Course Prospectus.

  6. What are the eligibility criteria for retraining allowance?Trainees attending a placement-tied course with a duration of 7 days or more, and who has attained an attendance rate of at least 80%, may submit their applications for retraining allowance through the training bodies concerned. For any trainees, the number of applications for retraining allowance is limited to 2 per year and not more than 4 within a period of 3 years.

  7. If an application is approved, when will the retraining allowance be paid?Normally four to six weeks upon the completion of the concerned course.

  8. How to apply for course fee waiver or subsidies for attending non-placement-tied courses?Upon receiving notification of course enrolment, trainees should submit their applications for course fee waiver or subsidies together with their income proof to the concerned training bodies before commencement of class.

  9. Is enrolment considered successful upon submission of completed application form together with required supporting documents?Individual courses may require interviews and/or entry tests before admitting applicants. Upon passing the assessments concerned, training bodies will issue admission notices to the successful applicants in writing, and notify them of details of course commencement once sufficient number of candidates are available.

  10. What should be done if, after confirmation of course enrolment, circumstances do not allow an applicant to attend the course?The applicant should apply for cancellation of enrolment in person or in writing to the concerned training body at least 3 working days prior to the date of course commencement. Late application for cancellation will not be accepted.

  11. What should be done if an applicant is unable to attend class or to attain 80% attendance on grounds of getting a job or other personal reasons e.g. illness or accident?In the event that a trainee is unable to attend a course or attain 80% attendance on grounds of getting a job or other personal reasons e.g. illness or accident, to avoid having to pay the course fees or being prohibited from future course enrolment, the trainee should submit an application to the ERB through the concerned training body, together with supporting documents e.g. employment proof or medical certificate(s) issued by a registered medical practitioner.

  12. What services do the ERB Service Centres provide?As the district-based window to the courses and services of the ERB, the ERB Service Centres offer just-in-time and diversified self-help and support services to those with training and employment needs. The service targets are people aged 15 or above, with education attainment at sub-degree level or below. Registration as members is both simple and free of charge. The Service Centres provide an overview of courses of the ERB as well as information on courses offered by training bodies in the respective districts. The Service Centres answer general enquiries on training courses and provide direct enrolment service for selective courses offered by training bodies in the districts. "Training Consultancy Service" and "Training and Career Needs Test" are available from the Service Centres. Other training-related services and activities include: multi-media computer facilities, reference material and self-learning softwares, a great variety of workshops, seminars as well as mutual support and study groups. Support services for people with employment needs include display of job cards, vacancy search terminals to access the vacancy database of the Labour Department, office facilities for job applications, industry seminars, job fairs and job matching services.

  13. What services does the Practical Skills Training and Assessment Centre provide?Established in October 2002 by the ERB, the Practical Skills Training and Assessment Centre (PSTAC) is a centralised practical assessment centre which aims to ensure the quality of training courses through a fair, just and transparent mechanism of standardised practical assessments, so as to enhance the public recognition of the trainees' skills as well as their employment opportunities. The PSTAC is now administering practical assessments for 17 courses. Graduates from the Certificate in Domestic Helper course who have passed the standardised practical assessments will be issued a “Competency Card” together with a graduation certificate. For candidates who have passed the assessments of other courses, graduation certificates will be issued.

  14. How can I give my opinions on the ERB training services?The ERB welcomes suggestions on its services. Suggestions can be sent by email to erbhk@erb.org, by fax to 2369 8322 or by mail to 3/F to 6/F, 10 Siu Sai Wan Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong. Members of the public may also call the Enquiry Hotline: 182 182.

  15. Where can I obtain course information?Information on ERB’s training courses are listed in the ERB “Course Prospectus” published in April and October each year. Members of the public may also refer to ERB’s “Online Course Application” website: http://course.erb.org (available in Chinese only) or contact the Enquiry Hotline 182 182.

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Training Courses



  1. What are placement-tied courses?Placement-tied courses on vocational skills training are generally offered in full-time mode. Courses straddling different industry categories and aiming at equipping trainees with skills required by the market are dedicated for the unemployed. Trainees upon completion of placement-tied courses are provided with a 3-6 month placement follow-up services by training bodies to help them re-enter the job market. The courses also include training on personal attributes and job search skills, which aim to enable trainees to strengthen soft skills and secure employment.

  2. What are generic skills training courses?Transferable skills applicable in different industries including foundation skills (English, Chinese, Putonghua, Business Numeracy, and IT Applications) and personal attributes are offered in non-placement-tied generic skills training courses. To assist trainees enhance their qualifications and competitiveness, a series of preparatory courses for internationally recognised language proficiency tests are also offered under this course category.

  3. What are Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus courses?Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus (SUS Plus) courses are offered in half-day or evening mode. These courses aim at enhancing the vocational skills competency of the local labour force, encourage employees to improve themselves and add value, and be multi-skilled through continuous skills upgrading. As employee may seek job changes or aim to broaden their employment opportunities through training, some SUS Plus courses are open to applicants from other industries. Modular courses aiming at enhancing basic knowledge of the industries are offered to people who plan to change their fields of work with a view to facilitate their job mobility.

  4. What are special target group courses?These courses aim at providing training and employment services to assist the special service targets, including new arrivals, people with disabilities and people recovered from work injuries, ethnic minorities, rehabilitated ex-drug abusers or ex-offenders, to integrate into the society and achieve self-reliance. Dedicated courses for the special target groups cover training in vocational skills, generic skills and career planning, etc.

  5. What are courses for young people?Courses providing training and placement services suiting the needs of young people are operated in full-time placement-tied mode and offered under the banners of “Employment Set Sail for Youth” courses and “Youth Training Programme”.

    “Employment Set Sail for Youth” courses target at secondary school graduates aspired to seek employment but with limited work experience. To enhance the competitiveness of the young graduates, besides providing fundamental vocational training to prepare them to acquire recognised qualifications, these courses also aim at enhancing their personal attributes, enabling them to chart their career development, and equipping them with transferable skills. The Youth Training Programme targets at non-engaged youths aged between 15 and 20 who have not completed secondary education. The programme aims to rekindle their desire to learn and further study, and motivate them to actively plan for their future.

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Placement follow-up service



  1. What are placement follow-up services?Appointed training bodies of the ERB will offer graduate trainees of placement-tied courses a minimum of 3 months’ placement follow-up services. Placement officers of the training bodies provide vacancy information and refer suitable vacancies to trainees according to their experience, skills, aptitudes and job expectations.

  2. Why are placement follow-up services only provided to graduates of placement-tied courses?Since placement-tied courses are offered specifically for the unemployed, training bodies will provide graduate trainees with placement follow-up service. Half-day and evening courses, including the “Skill Upgrading Scheme Plus” courses and generic skills training courses, are not specifically designed for the unemployed, hence no placement follow-up service will be provided.

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Services for employers



  1. How can job matching and referral services offered by the Employees Retraining Board assist employers in recruitment? Appointed training bodies of the ERB offer graduate trainees of placement-tied courses a minimum of 3 months’ placement follow-up services. Employers who are interested to recruit graduate trainees of ERB courses can contact the placement officers of the training bodies direct for free referral services. Placement officers of training bodies will follow-up and refer suitable candidates who possess the required work experience and skills level.

  2. Is there a fee for recruiting graduate trainees through the ERB?The referral service provided by the appointed training bodies of the ERB is completely free of charge.

  3. Is there a fee for the employer to co-organise a tailor-made course with the ERB? What are the responsibilities involved?Employers or groups of employers that can offer 12 or more vacancies in a particular position which requires special skill sets not readily available from full-time placement-tied courses of the ERB can apply for the organisation of a tailor-made course by the ERB.

    Through such tailor-made courses, the ERB provides a free one-stop service on recruitment, pre-employment training and post-employment follow up with a view to helping employers resolve their recruitment difficulties while at the same time enhancing the vocational skills and employment opportunities of the job seekers.


  4. How do the employers register to employ the graduate trainees?Employers who are interested to recruit graduate trainees of ERB courses can complete the “Vacancy Registration Form” which can be downloaded from the ERB website, and return it by fax to the ERB or the concerned training bodies. Employers can also contact us through our hotline: 182 182 for enquiries.

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