Female engineer scales new heights

July 8, 2019

Joanna Kwok is the first woman in Hong Kong to qualify as a chief engineer of seagoing vessels.


Following her persistent efforts over the past few years, she was able to achieve professional success in a traditionally male-dominated industry. 


Hong Kong is an international maritime centre and has long held prime status in the global maritime industry. However, there is a shortage of maritime professionals.


The Government set up the Maritime & Aviation Training Fund in 2014 to support the manpower development of maritime and aviation sectors.


In May, $200 million was injected into the fund to launch new initiatives for these sectors and boost existing training schemes and scholarships.


The Maritime Professional Promotion Federation said career prospects for cadets who have completed their training are promising.


They can work on local vessels or travel further afield, or they can take up posts in disciplined forces, such as the Marine Police or the Customs & Excise Department.


Mariners can join shore-based maritime industries and take up managerial posts, or they may further their studies and take up jobs in other maritime businesses, including maritime arbitration, law, engineering and insurance.


Miss Kwok completed the Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education in 2007 and has joined a shipping company.


She said: "One of the challenges is your fellow crew members or colleagues. They won’t trust you because you're female and they think they can override you.


“But in the end, I think work shows everything. Time will tell. Just prove that you can work as well as them. When there is a problem, show your problem-solving skills and that’s it. They will believe in you after some time."


She also told Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination students not to hesitate in pursuing the jobs they are interested in. 


The Maritime Professional Promotion Federation said those who would like to pursue a career in the industry could consider studying the Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering or the Higher Diploma in Maritime Studies Programme under the Vocational Training Council, or mechanical engineering degree programmes at local universities.

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