Despite the rapid unemployment decrease and the continued increase in youth employment rates, Malta is currently experiencing labour supply shortages.
In light of the rapidly changing labour market and a lack of coordinated governance in data collection on national skill needs and labour forecasting, the National Vocational Education and Training Policy (2015) had recommended setting up a national VET steering group; its aim would be to bring together all main public and private VET stakeholders to coordinate the implementation and subsequent updates of national VET policy.
Subsequently, the National Skills Council (NSC) was established in December 2016 to improve the governance of skills anticipation and coordinate work that was – previously –fragmented across several organisations. Its legislative mandate requires the NSC to involve representatives of the labour market; to study, propose and plan strategies and training opportunities that reduce labour skill shortages; to improve skills so that (labour) market demands are met; to involve stakeholders in setting strategic priorities for education and training; to liaise with education institutions; and to perform any other function that may be assigned to it by the Minister for Education and Employment.
Since its establishment, the NSC has set itself a three-year strategic plan, identifying three priority areas:
- bringing together the worlds of education and industry through work-based learning;
- digital skills; and
- research and development with the goal to create better conditions and incentives for lifelong learners.
For each priority, a sub-committee was set up with the participation of social partners and stakeholders.
The sub-committee on work-based learning is focusing on (a) taking stock of the relations that exist between different education institutions and industry representatives; (b) identifying a realistic approach towards making work-based learning more available to learners in different contexts; and (c) drawing up a list of priority actions involving multiple stakeholders, including private training providers. One of the initiatives of the NSC is to bring together education professionals and industry representatives and to identify ways and means of helping them work together more closely.
The sub-committee on digital skills was tasked with analysing the various studies and proposals on the digital skills gap in Malta, and consolidating a list of priority actions, involving multiple stakeholders, including private training providers. The NSC has approved the sub-committee’s consolidated report and has started liaising with training providers to discuss implementation measures.
In research and development, the sub-committee’s primary task was focusing on the skills gaps in the life sciences sector. An independent researcher was contracted to identify priority areas for skills development. Following up on the results of this research, the NSC brought together all stakeholders to coordinate a multi-faceted approach towards the development of a pool of professionals trained to work in the sector.
More information at:
MEDE; MCAST (2015). National vocational education and training policy. pp. 9-10.
Subsidiary Legislation 327.547 National Skills Council (establishment).