Fabian Demicoli

CEDEFOP Thematic Country Review on Apprenticeships in Malta: Reform in Apprenticeships Key to a More Skills-Driven Workforce

CEDEFOP (The EU Agency for Vocational Education and Training) has conducted a Country Review on Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships in Malta are currently undergoing a reform to re-establish confidence and assure quality. GRTU believes that apprenticeships are a key valuable tool towards

 providing a workforce which is skilled and trained with experience  ready to engage the needs of industry.

The Minister for Education and Employment Hon Minister Evarist Bartolo outlined the need for extending the opportunities for apprenticeships to provide youths with more chance to develop industry-driven skills. Minister Bartolo expressed his concern that there were still youths out of employment or training and that have given up on education. He encouraged all those concerned to find further means of cooperation to offer more opportunities.

The key issues identified for necessary improvement:

  1. Apprentices do not benefit from rights in relation to social security and injury at the workplace
  2. On-the-job training and ratio with off-the-job training is not guaranteed by law
  3. There is no holistic approach to a qualification following apprenticeship
  4. Apprenticeship programmes follow a non-integrated approach
  5. Apprentices undergo two assessments and receive two certificates
  6. There is an accumulation of functions on the education side: strategy, provision, administration, assessment, certification
  7. There is mismatch between apprenticeship offer apprenticeship offers and labour market needs
  8. Apprenticeship is offered as a general alternative for learners, in addition to other forms of VET in the same occupational sectors.

CEDEFOP Director Professor James Calleja highlighted the importance of apprenticeships to give value to education in terms of the labour market. He outlined that solid governance structures for apprenticeship schemes need to be set in place to address these problems.

GRTU believes that a positive step has been taken through the efforts by MCAST over the past year, however apprenticeships need to be widened both horizontally (across other institutions and particularly to allow private institutions to access such schemes) as well across education sectors including other levels of the MQF and higher education perhaps through other forms of work-based learning such as internships.

GRTU is also insisting the development of a fair system that is student-centred yet which provides all the support to the host in order to recognise the time and investment that is being dedicated by businesses. Such systems also need to be redesigned to attract and be accessible to micro-businesses to give such opportunities. If one continues to rely only on the larger employers, it is going to be difficult to widen the opportunities as is desired.

 

 

 

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