Provision to raise achievement in basic skills
The Lifelong Learning Unit within the Ministry for Education’s Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE) provides programmes for persons who may not have obtained any formal qualifications and who are lacking basic literacy skills. These courses cover Maltese, English and numeracy literacy skills. Due to the importance of computer literacy a course for beginners is also being offered.
Such centres have been awarded a certification at Level 1 according to the Malta Qualifications Framework. Students who attend yet opt out of the final pen-and-paper exam are awarded a Certificate of Participation. Persons who successfully pass the final test are awarded an MQF certification at Level 1. Holders of this certification can then progress to the next level of studies.
Thus, adult learners who have acquired MQF level 1 (5 credits) in English can then progress to a general education award at MQF level 2 (English). An adult learner also has the option of following another partial MQF Certification course in any other subject in the Key Competencies for lifelong learning at Level 1.
Together with the certificate, learners receive a transcript with a profile of all the skills and competencies that they have acquired throughout the course. Information is also provided on the certificate indicating what occupations are accessible to the holder thus emphasising the importance of self-development and up-skilling to enhance employability.
These courses are provided against a payment of a once-only minimal charge for a course that lasts from October to May. Courses are run both in the morning and in the evenings.
Courses for Non-Maltese Nationals
Courses are also offered to non-Maltese adults residing in Malta. These are “Maltese for foreigners” and “English as a foreign language” courses. Learners taking up these courses, which are held in both adult learning centres as well as a number of Local Councils, can attain Level 1 on the Malta Qualifications Framework.
Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood
Lifelong Learning Unit
The Lifelong Learning Unit offers numerous evening classes courses in different subject areas and at different levels in seven adult learning centres in Malta and Gozo. An annual prospectus is published with extensive details about the variety of courses offered, timetables and procedures as to how to apply. These second chance opportunities for adult learners vary in level, type and depth with lessons normally lasting three contact hours weekly.
Admission requirements for evening classes courses are varied and depend on what courses students opt to follow. There are also courses in which students can progress from one year to another if they have attained the required level to do so. The validation of these courses is being carried out in line with the European Qualifications Framework.
Detailed course descriptions include the rationale and the expected learning outcomes which specify knowledge and understanding, skills and competencies as requested. Reference is also made to the number of credits, assessment methods and requirements to follow the specific courses.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) offers many part-time learning opportunities to adults interested in taking up further learning courses. These courses offer individuals the opportunity of acquiring knowledge, planning for a change in career or simply learning for fun.
Each of MCAST’s six institutes offers courses in different areas of specialisation. Most of these courses, as indicated in the Part-Time Courses prospectus, are pegged to the Malta Qualifications Framework at levels 2 to 7. Also listed are the number of ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credit points each course is equivalent to. These are based on the European Credit for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) system with Levels 5 and 6 awarded Credit Points based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
Course participants can thus keep further progressing until they reach a full Diploma or Certificate qualification. This means that for example an individual can follow 30 credits at Level 4 in engineering as separate units, then, if the combination of units is approved by MCAST, the individual can aggregate the credits and qualify for a Level 4 certificate in engineering.
Institute of Tourism Studies
The Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) also offers part-time courses to individuals interested in furthering their skills and knowledge in the hospitality business. A prospectus is issued on an annual basis so that interested individuals can view the courses available. Courses, offered against payment, provide the assessment method required to obtain certification.
Institute for Public Services
This institute provides several training courses to public service employees ranging from clerical and technical staff to top management staff. This institute is a legal entity and operates in partnership with the University of Malta and MCAST. The IPS tries to ensure that the tertiary level training needs of public officers are satisfied. Some training courses which are offered by this institute are:
• Verbal and written skills
• Communication and interpersonal skills
• Innovation and creativity
• Strategic and management of change
Courses are offered for free as part of employees’ continuous professional development and are given throughout the year following the issuing of an annual prospectus.
Other private institutions
Other institutions and private tuition centres offer various courses in subject areas ranging from marketing to the creative arts. One specialised entity is the Malta Institute of Management (MIM) which offers various courses from short-term to a Doctorate in Business Administration. Some of these management, business administration and finance courses attain degree or post-graduate levels and are provided in close collaboration with foreign universities such as the Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.
The Foundation for Human Resources (FHRD) is a non-profit, non-governmental voluntary organisation set up through a co-joint initiative between government and the private sector. It works through partnerships with corporate members from private and public sector organisations.
It also has international agreements with the Centre of Labour Market Studies (CLMS) of the University of Leicester in the UK to act as its representative in Malta. FHRD on behalf of CLMS provides Certificate, Diploma, BSc (Hons), Masters and Doctorate programmes and participates in numerous networking and research opportunities.
It also collaborates with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) of the UK. A range of professional training courses, held at different times throughout the year, are run by the organisation with various options and opportunities for certification.
Courses offered by FHRD are against the payment of a fee, which fee is many times eligible for a refund under one of various government schemes in place to encourage people to further their studies.
Provision targeting the traansition to the labour market
Jobsplus provides a range of courses and schemes to promote lifelong learning essential in today’s mobile job market. Jobsplus continuously endeavours to align the training that it provides to labour market demands and clients’ needs whilst also doing its utmost to improve the quality of its services through upgrades and accreditation by both national and foreign institutions. Such certification is essential as it facilitates a smoother access into the work environment. Indeed, Jobsplus has in place several schemes aimed to assist job seekers as well as to offer employees upskilling opportunities.
• Training Schemes
A number of training schemes and initiatives are funded by Jobsplus through co-financing by the European Social Fund. The range of courses offered indicates the commitment by ETC towards enhancing individuals’ employability. It assists jobseekers, inactive persons and employees in upgrading their knowledge and skills through re-training, skills assessment and traineeships amongst others.
Courses on offer range from basic skills to advanced training programmes including traineeships, short mainstream programmes, courses in further technical education, business and management development programmes as well as customised courses for particular client groups.
Proficiency and certification of all training are essential key areas which the Jobsplus has been upgrading. Jobsplus also offer a number of employment and training schemes to address the needs of both job seekers and employers. Jobsplus also delivers training to various disadvantaged groups to improve their employability opportunities including in partnership with public entities, NGOs and religious institutions.
Courses are offered free-of-charge and are given during daytime working hours.
The current schemes are:
o The Bridging the Gap Scheme support persons with disability and other people in vulnerable situations in the transition period from unemployment.
o The Sheltered Employment Training prepares individuals with different disabilities (mental and intellectual) for employment.
o The Access to Employment Scheme provides employment aid to enterprises in Malta to promote the recruitment of inactive and challenged people.
o The VASTE Project facilitates the entry in the labour market of vulnerable persons and persons with disability.
o Pre-employment training which is provided by the Job Bridge Training Centre helps disadvantaged persons to acquire skills the labour market requires.
o The Youth Employment Programme (YEP) aims to provide young people (16-25) opportunities to enter the labour market or to re-enter the education system. In fact, the SEC Preventive Classes, MCAST Preventive Classes, ICT Summer Courses and NEET Activation Scheme II are part of this project. This scheme also provides basic information on careers, education, training and job searching while a website provides an opportunity to job seekers to chat live with a team of professionals.
o The Traineeship Scheme provides pre-employment training. During the traineeship the jobseeker will be provided with on-job training and off-the-job training. The job training is provided by different employers who apply through public calls.
o The Investing in Skills Scheme is a new initiative which was launched last year. Employers interested to provide training to their employees can receive part of the costs back.
o The Average Wage Earners supports employed and self-employed workers who are following a course offered by Jobsplus (literacy and numeracy, computing, trading, care services) but whose wage is €300 or less. These workers will receive a financial grant.
o The Child Care Subsidy encourage individuals with parental responsibilities to attend Jobsplus courses in order to improve their employment prospects and integration into the labour market. In return, these individuals will receive a subsidy on the childcare services.
o The Work Exposure Scheme provides jobseekers with hands on training to facilitate the transition into employment. From the training the individuals will obtain the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to participate in the labour market.
o The Work Placement Scheme provides inactive workers following Vocational Education and Training Award in Child Care (0-3years), the Vocational Education and Training Award for Care Workers for Persons with Disability and Vocational Education and Training Award for Care Workers for the Elderly with the opportunity to acquire theoretical and practical training.
o The Work Programme Initiative Scheme’s main objective is to reintegrate long term unemployed persons into the labour market. The persons eligible for this scheme are inactive persons who have not registered in the past twelve months and individuals who have been registering for twelve months over the last two years.
Provision of liberal (popular) adult education
Imsida Lifelong Learning Centre
This centre offers a wide range of courses to adults interested in increasing their employability through improving their skills and knowledge. The majority of courses in this centre are offered in the morning while evening courses are held in other locations such as local councils and adult learning centres.
The courses offered at the Lifelong Learning Centre are promoted mainly among school-leaving students who did not achieve entry qualifications to enrol for higher education or find employment. However other interested adult learners can enrol for any of the courses.
This explains the wide range of courses offered at the centre namely courses in Italian, English, German, Computer Awareness, French, Maltese, Cultural Appreciation, ECDL, Spanish, Leadership Skills, Art Appreciation, Health and Safety, Philosophy for beginners, Personal Empowerment, Successful Ageing. Courses offered in the evening include lessons in Chinese, Setting Up and Running a Business, Spanish at Advanced Level, Creative Thinking and Problem Solving and Health & Wellbeing.
Computer courses are also run through the centre. Hundreds of students attend these courses which range from Web Starter courses to ECDL core and advanced levels. Learners at the centre have the opportunity to sit for tests to assess their proficiency at four different times throughout the year.
Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners
In order to support an increase in the number of adults following post-graduate courses, thus increasing the availability and employment of high-level graduates in the priority sectors of the knowledge-based economy, a number of scholarship schemes were introduced.
The Strategy and Support Directorate within the Ministry for Education and Employment administers a number of under-graduate and post-graduate scholarship schemes. These schemes are intended to increase the number of persons furthering their qualifications at tertiary level, especially at post-graduate level. It is through these schemes that the Directorate contributes to the realisation of the country’s long-term development potential in terms of innovative research, creativity and intellectual growth both on a national and international level.
The following schemes are funded completely through national funds:
· Malta Arts Scholarship (not available in 2021)
On the other hand, the following scheme is currently available (March 2021) and is co-financed through the European Social Fund (ESF):
The University of Malta and University Services
Apart from the numerous graduate and post-graduate courses at tertiary level, the University of Malta also offers courses leading to Certificate, Diplomas and degrees on a part-time basis. In 2014, the Programme in Liberal Arts and Sciences was launched and is administered by the Centre for Liberal Arts and Sciences. Prospective students can follow individual study-units from a range on areas in science and arts.
With this new opportunity students can study at their own pace and they can achieve either a Certificate, Diploma, Higher Diploma or a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. This opportunity is both for individuals who want to start their journey at a university level and those who wants to refine their knowledge. Students are assessed through assignments and the lectures take place once a week between 18:00hrs and 20:00hrs . For these study units, students have to pay a fee even if they do not sit for assessment.
The Malta University Holding Company Limited, (MUHC) an independent company which embodies the commercial interests of the University of Malta, offers different opportunities for furthering one’s learning. The Malta University Language School helps students to achieve their desired English proficiency and the courses range from general English to specialised lessons, intensive English and TOEFI and IELTS.
This language school also offers special courses such as Business English, Aviation English, Legal English and Medical English. The Professional Development line of MUHC provides a variety of short training and educational programmes utilising tutors and facilities of the University of Malta. Programmes offered vary from specialised management and business development to computer systems and quality management to programmes of more generic interest such as health and safety, art and other subject areas.
Courses run in collaboration with non-governmental organisations
An agreement has been reached by the Adult Education Unit and a number of non-governmental organisations to provide training in a number of key areas including courses in Basic Maltese, English and Computer Awareness or in the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). These courses are provided for residents of the St. Mary Community following a SEDQA programme, residents of Villa St. Anna (Caritas), Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility (FITA) and the National Council of Women of Malta as well as with the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS). The aim of such protocols is to further reach out to adult learners in the community.
These courses are all provided free-of-charge.