ITS launches new Training School aimed at meeting the HORECA industry needs
In February 2023, The Institute for Tourism Studies (ITS) launched a new Training School to provide training programmes and short courses to current and prospective workers within the hospitality and tourism industry. The Training School aims to be industry-driven in content and format. This includes offering courses that meet current skills gaps facing the industry and industry goals; offering the current workforce upskilling and reskilling opportunities within the industry; and offering both standard and bespoke programmes that meet the specific needs of the particular industry.
National Research and Innovation Strategic Plan 2023-2027
The Malta Council for Science and Technology launched the National Research and Innovation Strategic Plan for public consultation in December 2022, with the goals being: (i) Strengthening R&I Governance and Priority-Setting; (ii) Local Ecosystem Development; (iii) Enhanced Directionality through Missions and Smart Specialisation; (iv) Mainstreaming R&I in Public Policy which includes recommendation 4.3 aimed at the upgrading of the current system for STEM education and learning, to ensure that young people all have an appropriate STEM, R&I and entrepreneurial skillset when they enter the labour market.; and (v) R&I Implementation Structures. Public consultation ended on January 31st 2023.
Jobsplus' initiative in the Green Economy
As the world of work continues to change, importance on green jobs is increasing. A study conducted by Jobsplus in 2022 regarding Green Jobs among 262 respondents from various companies, employers, training providers and agencies, aimed among others to identify training needs of green jobs.
Results showed an existing skills-gaps , indicating the need for training to support the green transition. Low-skilled and medium-skilled occupations require both new skills and upgrading of existing skills, while high-skilled occupations mostly require upgrading of existing skills. Responses indicate that this sector requires training for improving knowledge and skills (including transversal skills like motivation, creativity, communication and critical thinking). Such training would improve the employability and flexicurity of low skilled workers required in emerging industries. Jobsplus is leading two major projects related to the ‘Green’ and ‘Digital’ areas: ‘Intercept project’, which is funded through the EEA and Norway Grants, and ‘Smartly project’, which is funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
The ‘Intercept project’, provides NEETs (Persons Not in Education, Employment, or Training) aged between 25-29 an opportunity to participate in a 25 hours ‘Green Jobs motivational Training’ and a 240 hours work placement with an employer in an area or job related which is already contributing to the green economy. Jobsplus from Malta is the lead partner. In the Intercept Project, Jobsplus is partnered with 8 other organisations coming from 5 European countries, namely: Visionary Analytics from Lithuania; The Lithuanian Public Employment Service; CASE - Center for Social and Economic Research from Poland; the Institute of Economic Research - Slovak Academy of Sciences; the Region of Tuscany, Anci Toscana and Grosseto University Hub from Italy and ADEM, the National Employment Agency of Luxembourg. The overall budget allocated for the Intercept project amounts to €2,181,658.62, of which Jobsplus is allocated a total of €513,636.05.
‘Smartly Project’ established a new enhanced profiling tool for NEETs that aims to measure green and digital skills as well as design an interactive training programme with the objective to equip individuals with such skills. Jobsplus also started offering a number of green jobs related courses in agriculture to the general public for free. In the Smartly Project, Jobsplus is partnered with 7 other organisations coming from 6 European countries, namely: CASE - Center for Social and Economic Research from Poland; Cde Petra Patrimonia from France; Anci Toscana and Grosseto University Hub from Italy; ADEM, the National Employment Agency of Luxembourg; Ministry of Labour And Social Insurance, Cyprus; Hrvatski Zavod Za Zaposljavanje, Croatian Employment Service. The overall budget allocated for the Smartly project amounts to €399,965.00, of which Jobsplus is allocated a total of €89,437.00.
European Digital Credentials for Learning - University of Malta
In collaboration with the European University of the Seas and Europass, the University of Malta embarked on a new project to provide European Digital Credentials for Learning to all of the University of Malta graduands from 2021 onwards. The European Digital Credentials for Learning include a digital version of the scroll that is signed with a unique electronic seal (that is the digital equivalent of an institution’s rubber stamp). This allows potential employers, education and training institutions to easily authenticate, validate and recognise credentials of any size, shape or form.
The Future of Education and Training in Europe and Malta
In June and July, the Ministry for Education and Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM) held a series of five online discussions with interested stakeholders to gather feedback on the new Strategic Framework for Education and Training 2030. The five themes that were discussed were: Improving quality, equity, inclusion and success for all; Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality for all; Enhancing competences and motivation in the education profession; Reinforcing European higher education; Supporting the green and digital transitions in and through education and training.
Institute for Education initiatives
Courses for Childcare assistants
The IFE, in conjunction with the Quality Assurance Department, is working on the accreditation of an Award in Child Care Assistant (MQF Level, 30 ECTS) to improve the level and competencies of those aspiring to become childcare assistants in order to facilitate and strengthen their employability.
The IFE launched an MQF Level 7 award in Educational Neuroscience. The 10 ECTS award will equip course participants with the opportunity to develop their understanding of ways in which cognitive neuroscience can inform their decisions to further improve the educational and learning experience.
Digital competences for education
The Institute for Education, in collaboration with the Directorate for Digital Literacy and Transversal Skills will be offering a Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Competences for Education. This programme provides participants with formal training to those working within the education profession who wish to upgrade their digital skills and competences in the area of digital literacies. The Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu) was the framework which was taken into consideration in the development of this programme.
Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) Strategy 2022-2027
Through its Strategic Plan 2022-2027, MCAST is committed to dedicating and redirecting its resources to develop the future Maltese workforce with skills that cut across vocational sectors and allow each individual to function effectively in an ever-changing economic environment. The College’s six-year plan is built on the vision of creating a working and learning community where everyone is welcome, respected, supported and valued. The Strategic Objectives target infrastructure (both digital and physical), quality and relevance of the programmes offered, work-based learning, image and esteem of VPET, partnerships, management and governance, and research and innovation. These pillars have served the College to ensure a cross-sectional and multi-dimensional approach to its development.
The College has also set three transversal priorities that cut across all the strategic objectives and are addressed through multiple initiatives and measures. Firstly, the College staunchly believes in ‘student centrededness’ and prioritises student engagement, retention, development, and involvement. Students are considered to be partners in their academic endeavours and are encouraged to develop active engagement in shaping their learning and development. Secondly, another transveral theme directs the College’s effort to become a Community College, open to address the learning and social needs of our community. The third and final transversal priority consolidates the initiatives towards safeguarding a sustainable environment and promoting social cohesion and wellbeing.
Jobsplus provision of online courses
Several of the courses administered by Jobsplus (Malta’s PES) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic continued via online learning during Malta’s partial lockdown. Shifting courses from classroom training to online learning facilitated the process for learners to continue following courses and upgrading their skills. From January to June 2021, 169 different courses were organised, and 102 of these courses were offered online. Most of Jobsplus’ courses are delivered through online systems. In-person training is being offered to clients who prefer this learning style or for courses involving a practical element. Jobsplus intends to continue delivering courses online even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employment Policy Consultation
Towards the end of January 2021, the Maltese Government, through the Ministry for Finance and Employment (MFE), launched a consultation process for a new Employment Policy. Among the key challenges the new policy aims to address the need of upskilling and reskilling the Maltese workforce and address the challenges that automation and other technological advancements bring along within specific sectors. The new policy shall determine key labour shortage areas as well as identify the demand for workers in specific/certain industries.
Skills Surplus and Shortge Survey
In 2021, Jobsplus commenced the data collection of the Skills Surplus and Shortage Survey. The survey is being conducted amongst a representative sample of employers from the different economic sectors.