During the year, we saw the continued development and progress of many of our activities and projects. Particularly worth mentioning is the smooth progress of the development of the Specification of Competency Standards (SCS) of the fashion industry. It is expected that the first phase of the project would be completed by April 2018. In this phase, Units of Competence (UoC) for 5 functional areas, i.e. Design, Product Development, Merchandising and Material Procurement, Sales and Marketing, and Quality System and Sustainability, are compiled and would be ready for implementation in the middle of next year. It is also expected that a second phase of the projects which focuses in the areas of Production Planning and Control, Material Development and Auxiliary services could be started by the end of next year and CITA would seek to continue working as the professional writer for this work.
In the area of sustainability, the most notable new development is in the provision of training opportunities on Chemical Management System (CMS) for the industry. Based on the work of our e-platform of CMS, we are now working with some international brands and consultants in developing highly specialized programmes for the Coloration and Finishing Sector aiming to achieve Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) during the manufacturing of textile products. As regards the progress of our two respective tools in the measurement of Carbon Footprint (ACFM) and Water Footprint (AWFM), it is pleased to note that a total of 63 licenses of ACFM has been acquired by the industry by the end of 2017 and that the offering of license for AWFM will begin in early 2018.
In November 2017, we were appointed by the Hong Kong Knitwear Exporters and Manufacturers Association, who obtained support from the HK SME Development Fund, to conduct a study “To establish a re-industrialization technology roadmap for SMEs of the HK Textile and Fashion Industry”. The main outcome of the study would be a thorough understanding of the global material development and technology application trend and with it the identification of the current technology and capability gap of the local industry. It is confident that knowledge gained in this project could be used to provide market intelligence for the way forward of the local industry and for CITA to develop training programmes that meet its future needs.
One of the major focus and development of our training programmes is in the area of digital fashion creation and product development. We are actively seeking collaborative efforts with software providers and industrial partners to provide relevant training opportunities for this considered to be the most important area for future development of the local industry. In this respect, besides providing intensive practice-oriented training programmes, such as the New Technology Training Scheme (NTTS) supported training course in Fitting Technology for Fashion Garment, we are further exploring with our partner, the Open University of Hong Kong, to plan new academic programmes for secondary six leavers in the 2018 academic year. One of such tentative programmes is “Higher Diploma in Digital Fashion Creation” which aims to equip students with creativity, digital literacy and technical competency for the creation of fashion products.
In an effort to reach out to a wide clientele base, we have taken a move to provide training to the local community at large. With the ever fast changing world, we are less certain about the future market or manpower demand. To get prepared for the new arena, we are prepared to expand the scope of a “wider” clothing industry and the associated target trainees. We have therefore been offering more basic courses such as “Learn to sew in 3 Days”, “Dressmaking”, “Professional Clothing Alteration”, and have received very positive feedbacks. To connect with this new target group, we have also adopted a different marketing approach which includes the use of social media and establishing links with NGOs and schools.
Last but not the least, we are most pleased with the progress of our synergetic collaboration with the Hong Kong Design Centre in the development of the Design Incubation Programme (DIP) and the Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP). We now see a much greater demand from the incubatees for prototype making from our Sample Development Centre and training courses that aim to improve their technical knowhow and skills that are essential to fashion design. It is envisaged that further mutual benefits can be achieved with the better understanding of the future needs from these incubatees.