Academic Guidance for Lifelong Learning is provided by the Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE) within the Ministry for Education and Sports through the Guidance Team, which was introduced in 2021. This team assists clients on:
• Learning options in post-compulsory education, both those offered by the Directorate’s own Lifelong Learning Unit and by third-party entities;
• Application submissions;
• In-course support and encouragement;
• Study plan formation, with a time frame, that takes cognisance of the learner’s current commitments;
• Exploring of support measures required to achieve academic goals including complimentary schemes e.g. childcare services and eligibility for exemption of fee payment, etc;
• Referral to other entities if required to further enable learning, such as Social Security, Malta Further & Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) etc.;
• Learning-pathway building, which takes into account the learner’s academic and experiential history, academic and career aspirations, a strengths and weaknesses assessment, exploring of support measures required and third-party organisations that may further enable learning;
Clients can set up meetings with the Guidance Team through educators, Lifelong Learning Courses Centre Coordinator, or by telephone. Meeting sessions can be held in person or online.
Additionally, in 2021, the DRLLE launched ‘The Learning Box’ which provides personalized self-paced and blended courses for all adults in the Maltese Islands. The related website includes information about these courses and training videos and training guides. The latter include short videos about: How to apply for a course; How to access my course content; How to submit an assignment and How to submit a quiz.
DRLLE together with public authorities in Ireland and Norway, is involved in the project CITO, CheckIn TakeOff, which is a project under the ERASMUS+ EU Policy experimentation in the fields of Education and Training. This project aim is that to develop a SkillsChecker tool that enables a person to independently carry out an initial assessment of their literacy, numeracy and digital skills. This will orientate them to their options regarding a flexible learning opportunity as well as recognising their prior skills while providing further pathways. More specifically, the SkillsChecker is aimed at empowering the learner to explore a learner centred approach to lifelong learning. CITO’s solution is to have an effective and independent assessment of one’s own skills.
Jobsplus which is the National Public Employment Services Agency offers guidance about its courses through schemes such as the Youth Guarantee which provides participants with either the opportunity to engage in a Traineeship programme or to continue with further education. For instance, the agency provides the following services:
-The VET Award in Employability Skills course which promotes adult learning through further education and training as it is intended to provide exposure to the trainee to take proactive steps to job search and gain meaningful employment. Such training includes self-awareness and skills audit training. Throughout the course learners are informed in detail on training opportunities particularly on courses offered by Jobsplus.
-The Award in Job Searching Techniques has learning outcomes which among others aim at: providing the necessary skills on how to improve oneself, determine the training needed for a particular job, prepare an action plan and determine the training needed to meet one’s goals.
Jobsplus also has an informative website and social media which include broad information about services and courses offered by the agency.
Jobsplus offer psycho-social support to their course participants through both the Inclusive Support Unit and the Youth Guarantee Unit. The agency has also in place agreements with NGO’s involved in the care for vulnerable persons. Such agreements include Caritas Malta and Oasi Foundation which are involved in the rehabilitation of substance abusers. Participants are offered training during their Rehabilitation Programme conducted by these NGO’s. The training focuses on the individual’s personal skills and talents and includes training on independent skills, social skills, employability skills, life skills and self-management. The NGO’s also offer professional services to any clients that are referred by Jobsplus.
Another agreement involves Inspire Foundation and Richmond Foundation (both NGO’s provide services to persons with disability including intellectual, psychological, mental and physical disabilities) who offer professional services support, advice and guidance to job coaches at the Jobsplus Sheltered Employment Training programme, through mentoring services to the benefit of individuals with mental health difficulties and/or intellectual disabilities.
The Guidance Team at the Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE) hold sessions with clients which are based on the following points:
• Job description, duties and work environment;
• Entry level qualifications, including licences and warrants;
• Knowledge, skills and additional qualities; and
• Related career opportunities.
The Guidance Team also liaise with other entities for further support, including MCAST and Jobsplus.
Jobsplus has in place employment advisors which map out a tailor-made plan for each individual registering with Jobsplus. Moreover, to enhance outreach mechanisms, the agency also organises other activities such as ad hoc information sessions and developmental workshops. Jobsplus’ employment advisors also participate in the 'I Choose' fair. In fact, the Jobseekers' Advisory Unit promotes its services during several career fairs organised by educational institutions. Post-Secondary and Tertiary Education Institutions also invite Jobsplus during Career weeks and/ or Career days. Connection with prospective participants is also carried out through Facebook, Instagram and Jobsplus website.
In 2018 Jobsplus published the Occupational Handbook which is a source of information related to 246 occupations found in the Maltese Labour Market and which cover more than 90% of the labour force. To serve as a source of guidance, each occupational sheet includes the:
• Job description, duties and work environment
• Entry level qualifications, including licences and warrants
• Knowledge, skills and additional qualities
• Related career opportunities
• Median pay and,
• Job outlook for the coming years
Besides Jobsplus provides programmes that enhance the career prospects of vulnerable groups:
The Head Start Programme which is provided in collaboration with Empower under the public social partnership Lino Spiteri Foundation. The scope is that of increasing work prospects within the labour market for people with registered disabilities by assisting them in enhancing their competences related to employment. It simulates a work setting and is structured in a manner that helps individuals to improve relationships and social skills, understand work-related skills and procedures and foster workplace ethics. Referrals for Head Start are done through the LSF Profiling and Guidance Executives.
The Sheltered Employment Training (SET) is a one-year programme aimed at preparing individuals with mental, physical and/or intellectual disabilities for employment. Clients are assigned to small groups with job coaches who focus on punctuality, work ethics, independent living, communication, and social skills. It gives the opportunity to receive hands-on training in different tasks such as back office, assembly of products, packaging etc. The SET is provided under the VASTE Project which is aimed to assist disabled persons and vulnerable inactive individuals, including former substance abusers, migrants, long-term unemployed (LTUs) and those with other types of social challenges to find and retain suitable employment.
The Pre-Employment Training provided under the VASTE Project is offered to four distinct groups: persons with intellectual difficulties, persons with physical/sensorial difficulties, persons with mental health challenges and other vulnerable individuals. PET courses range from 50 to 100 hours of training depending on the training referred to: from Life and Communication Skills, Basic Clerical and Pre-Employment Training. Basic ICT Training aims to provide clients with practical knowledge, skills and competences required to use ICT, use the Internet, send, and receive emails and the use of Microsoft Word to prepare a Curriculum Vitae and covering letter.