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.
Several the courses administered by Jobsplus (Malta’s PES) prior to Covid-19 pandemic, continued via online learning during Malta’s partial lockdown triggered by a desire to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Several other new courses were organised during the crisis. 70 courses are offered free of charge through webinars, reaching around 600 persons
At present, most Jobsplus’ courses are delivered through online systems or blended-learning. In-person training is being offered to clients who prefer this learning style or to courses involving a practical element. Jobsplus intends to continue delivering courses online even after the Covid-19 crisis.
Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)
MCAST’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme
MCAST has in place the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. The aim of the programme is to provide MCAST students with the opportunity to enhance their studies with life-enriching experiences that add value to their holistic knowledge base. The programme brings MCAST together with non-governmental stakeholders to form key partnerships to develop and cultivate skills, attitudes and values that enhance society and the environment. Areas of cooperation include entrepreneurship, creative and performing arts, sport, and voluntary work in the cultural sector.
As of academic year 2019-2020, the implementation of the CSR initiative has primarily encouraged personal development among students at MCAST, while having a positive impact in the local community. The initiative has enhanced relationships with the CSR partners, in supporting public value outcomes. As part of their training programme, all MCAST students can carry out community work at either non-governmental organisations or sports associations, care homes for the elderly, and local councils. Learners participating in the MCAST CSR programme can enhance their educational experience during their study period at MCAST, through a diverse range of opportunities provided by the College in collaboration with interested stakeholders.
MCAST students have so far had the opportunity to carry out community work in various areas such as the environment, culture, education, sports and social care, among others. The activities have been various and include administration work, coaching in different sport disciplines, helping in homes for children and the elderly, maintaining websites and social media platforms, and helping NGOs in their daily work by caring for abandoned animals, among others. Furthermore, students have also come up with ideas of their own to help their fellow students or the community. There are plans to embark on various CSR projects both within MCAST and within the local community.
The MCAST CSR and Events Department is working closely with various organisations on different projects to help its student and staff population better understand the importance of giving something back to society. Apart from the benefits already mentioned, the MCAST CSR programme has provided a framework for all MCAST learners to have the knowledge and skills acquired in non-formal and informal settings recognised and accredited.
Emergency online learning delivered to children attending compulsory schooling
Between March and June 2020, online learning was provided to students attending compulsory and post-secondary education. During this period of school closure, the MEDE appointed a working group to plan the support required by students, their parents/guardians and educators and to plan the COVID-19 mitigating measures and the academic preparations necessary for 2020/2021. During this period, the Directorate for Digital Literacy and Transversal Skills offered support and training to educators who felt the need to develop their digital skills in order to be able to continue teaching their students online. Additionally, MEDE distributed 262 laptops to educators (amounting to a total cost of €302,089). The Nisimgħek service was launched during the same period, for students and their parents/guardians to discuss their education-related concerns with College councillors, social workers, career advisors and Safe Schools Guidance Teachers, Monday to Friday (8.30 -16.00hrs) excluding school holidays and public holidays.
Online learning delivered to adults attending Lifelong Learning courses
Between March and July 2020, 197 general education courses were delivered online to adults as an emergency measure through the Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE). Revision classes were also given in September 2020, free of charge, to DRLLE learners who were sitting for their Ordinary, Intermediate or Advance Level Examinations.Classes designed to be delivered online were included, for the first time, in the DRLLE’s 2020/21 Prospectus.