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James H. Pearsall, Chairman of MCESD

The Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) has launched its apprenticeships programme for students looking to up their ‘employability skills’. The programme falls under the remit of MCAST Director, Apprenticeships and Work-Based Learning, Mr Martin Borg.

Following through the midst of a pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure that job seekers have the right skills in place for a future-proof Malta.

Before the pandemic, the problem of skill gaps was evident, most especially when it comes to certain industries. Missing out on actual lectures and practice as a result of Covid-19 exacerbated the problem. The pandemic has seriously disrupted standard education and training activities, including Vocational Education and Training (VET) across Europe. This is due to the fact that practical training such as work-based learning and apprenticeships were suspended in most sectors.

As Chairman of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), I have facilitated discussions among our members, comprising of, employer and employee bodies, on the Covid-19 situation and the social and economic aspects Malta is facing, and beyond, during a number of MCESD Council meetings.

I also had the opportunity to convey a message by means of a video clip to our members to partner up with MCAST in a drive to push apprenticeships prior to MCAST’s official launch, mainly because our members include employer bodies and they play a vital role in this regard. With the help of MCAST, social partners (i.e. our members) and students themselves, the apprenticeship programme will no doubt turn out to be a great success.

The world still acknowledges apprenticeships, also known as work-based learning, and trainees who engage in these programmes need not only be 16 or 18 years of age but also 23 and 24 year olds (adult apprenticeships) can apply.

This is an opportunity for students to enhance their skills through hands-on experience while undergoing training. In other words, students will undergo college-based learning coupled with industry-based training.

An apprenticeship gives you the chance to engage with employers and achieve opportunities in a bid to become part of an active labour force while you develop your competences. Another positive aspect of the programme is that you will learn and earn money at the same time. MCAST is currently working with many businesses in Malta to provide high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

Apprenticeships facilitate the transition into the labour market as they do not only offer the technical skills related to the job and the knowledge required in the process, but they provide the most essential skills referred to as employability skills. These serve as a catalyst in constructing the individual’s character. This serves not only as an investment for the company but mainly to the individual involved.

Certification after an apprenticeship provides the key for the eligibility into a career of choice with a guarantee of progress.

I would like to, once again, urge employers to partner up with MCAST for the future of job seekers and businesses.

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