Information Services Office   4.9.2012


Cheng Yuet-chiu Amy
Newsletter No. 402 > Feature > A Professional Trailblazer > Armed with a Bag Full of Tools

Armed with a Bag Full of Tools


Like other students who have been admitted to the Department of Social Work, Cheng Yuet-chiu Amy put social work as her top choice in the JUPAS admissions exercise. In the summer of 2011, she went to Canyou China at Futian, Shenzhen for her second placement. She introduced the ‘Employee Assistance Programme’ to Canyou’s software development arm, which employed about 80 disabled persons.

Amy said, ‘Services to disabled employees can be divided into two categories. The first is remedial. For example, when an employee’s wheelchair is broken, you have to provide him or her with a new one. The second category is developmental. For example, you have to provide facilities and teach them to do exercises, to maintain and improve their physical abilities. When employees are physically and emotionally healthy, their work performance will be improved, thus benefiting the organization. I acted as a bridge between the organization and its employees. I had to know the employees’ needs well and convey their aspirations to the management of the organization. But I also had to take into account the business principles of the organization when responding to the employees’ needs.’

Amy prepared for the three-month placement as early as 2010. In that year, she joined a study tour organized by her upperclassmen to Canyou. After the visit, she studied relevant information and learned more about it from other students who were on placement at the organization. When she applied for the placement, three teachers at the department interviewed her to make sure that she had a good grasp of the organization and its services before granting her application. The month before the placement, her instructor Mrs. Lo Ng Mei-kuen Eva accompanied her to Canyou to help her update her knowledge about it.

‘New’ is the word Amy used to describe the challenges she met during the placement. ‘The modus operandi of the organization, the software development business, the ideas of the project, and the role of project manager and intermediary agent were all new to me, let alone the living environment and language.’ The employees of the organization were from different parts of the country and spoke different dialects. Amy needed to communicate with disabled people. Sometimes, she had to use sign language as well.

Amy relished the challenges. Although she was a newcomer, she was not slighted. ‘Social work in mainland China is still in its infancy. They need much assistance from Hong Kong’s social workers. They were impressed by the good performance of our upperclassmen and confident in CUHK students. Don’t you know that they have a very high opinion of CUHK in mainland China?’

Amy described the two-year education before this placement and her first placement at a school for social development as foundation building. ‘It’s like stuffing my school bag with knowledge and experience.’ During the three-month in Shenzhen, she pulled out her tools from her bag to prove her capabilities as a professional social worker. Kitty, her supervisor from the department, visited her once a week. She never forgot to add a few tools to Amy’s arsenal and was Amy’s spiritual support.

By serving the Canyou and its employees, Amy learned how to be sensitive to the needs of the people she served, take and relay messages for both parties, balance the aspirations of the two sides, and turn them into practices and policies.

Amy graduated this summer and is now working at a Christian rehab centre.

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