Several institutions provide formal courses in adult learning. Most of them are public learning institutions such as the Lifelong Learning Unit within the Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE), the University of Malta, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), the Institute for Tourism Studies (ITS) and the Institute for Public Services (IPS). Other public entities, such as Jobsplus, provide further adult learning courses for individuals seeking employment. Finally, private organisations, including civil society entities, also provide non-formal courses and/or informal learning programmes.
The Lifelong Learning Unit is the main service provider for numerous adult learning courses. Through the Unit, about 400 courses are available at different levels many of which are in line with the Malta Qualifications Framework. Every Year, these courses attract more than 8,000 applicants aged sixteen and over. These courses are organised in seven centres, 34 local councils and 15 community centres spread around the Maltese islands. A communications strategy was put in place to promote these courses through a variety of media.
The University of Malta provides courses from foundation studies to doctoral level, with many courses offered on a part-time basis thus assisting people interested to continue with their studies while still in employment.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is also an important player in providing lifelong learning programmes. In fact, it offers over 300 part-time courses every academic year, which courses cover a wide range of levels varying from hobby courses with no accreditation to Level 7 (Post-Graduate Degree) courses. Course duration varies from a few hours for hobby courses to five years for Level 6 programmes.
Other VET courses that meet the specific needs of the tourism industry are given on an evening part-time basis by the Institute of Tourism Studies. These courses cover the full spectrum of the full-time study programme offered during the day thus making it possible for persons wishing to advance their careers and attain formal qualifications to do so while retaining their employment.
Jobsplus offers training courses to unemployed persons in order to facilitate their transition into employment. Indeed, courses are offered free of charge and are run during the morning. Jobsplus also offers courses pertaining to job searching techniques, which include CV writing and interview skills amongst others. Before designing new courses, Jobsplus performs checks to ensure that its courses do not duplicate courses already existing in the market and to ensure that different targeted audiences are being reached.
The Institute for the Public Services is the central training organisation of the Public Service, providing training to Public Service employees at all levels from clerical and technical staff to top management. The Institute is a legal entity set up under the Education Act in partnership with the University of Malta and MCAST. This not only facilitates the accreditation of the training programmes offered but also ensures that the tertiary-level training needs of public officers are adequately catered for.
Finally, private training providers offer training programmes that vary in content, duration and course level rating from programmes offered by public entities. Programmes offered by private entities are usually accredited by the Malta Further & Higher Education Authority (MFHEA).
The provision of such lifelong and life-wide programmes provides coverage of the different areas forming part of the eight Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning as outlined by the European Reference Framework. These competences include a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes which all individuals require for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment.