The National Skills Council (NSC) has the responsibility for identifying skills gaps in the economy and recommending remedial actions. The National Skills Council brings together representatives of the University of Malta (UoM), enterprises, public and private bodies, research centres, educational experts, and civil society. The NSC not only takes stock of existing skills needs, but also informs the education system on whether it is producing the skills the economy needs. It works with a wide range of stakeholders and conducts research.
All of the above. The NSC's aim is to review the past and present available skills within the labour work force and evaluate the changes required to meet current and future needs. It therefore seeks to minimise the skill gaps that exist in some of the demanding and rewarding sectors such as the digital, technical and financial sectors where Malta has, and can maintain, excellence. It is the council’s task to recommend policy changes to the government that would reduce these gaps and prepare the labour force with the right skills, to meet the future challenges.
What types of skill does the initiative deliver?
Basic literacy and numeracy skills
Basic digital skills
More advanced digital skills
General employability skills (team working, communication, etc.)
Job search skills
Career management skills
What methods of undertaking skills assessments and / or skills anticipation does the policy instrument utilise?
As the NSC brings together a wide range of stakeholders under one roof, it also pools expert knowledge emanating from different sectors of the economy.
Use of skills intelligence
How is labour market information / skills intelligence used within the initiative?
The NSC strives to increase the effectiveness of Malta's education and lifelong learning systems. It therefore seeks to use labour market informationa/skills intelligence to: Create systems which acknowledge other forms of learning, Expose students to the world of work, and Motivate the workforce towards a commitment of continuous education.
Main responsible body
Main body or organisation with overall responsibility for the initiative.
Ministry for Education
Other involved organisations
Which other organisations have a role in the initiative?
Chambers of Commerce
Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry
Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology; Institute for Tourism Studies
Research centres, universities
University of Malta
Civil Society; Lifelong Learning Specialists
Who are the intended beneficiaries?
All of the above. It is clear that the present global dynamic economic situation emphasizes the need for a more responsive education and ongoing training. In the Maltese context, the size of the labour force and the challenges of industry to find the right skills is also magnified by its insularity. Currently Malta has a low unemployment rate, despite the current challenges faced as a result of COVID-19, and due to this, some employers are also facing difficulties in engaging workers with the right skills.
SUCCESS FACTORS in the implementation
In its first years of implementation, the NSC highlighted three priority areas (outlined below). This has enabled the Council to remain focused in its efforts to successfully reach its objectives: (1) Bringing together the worlds of education and industry through work-based learning; (2) digital skills; and (3) Research and development with the goal to create better conditions and incentives for lifelong learners.
BARRIERS in the implementation
Having broad stakeholder representation can be an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. There are no official statements on this front, but it is no news that the more stakeholders involved in an initiative, the more challenging it is to obtain consensus on matters at hand or issues in discussion.
Monitoring and evaluation
MONITORING and EVALUATION: Is progress measured regularly? What are the indicators used to measure progress of the policy instrument? Have any evaluations been conducted?
UPDATES: whether there have been any major updates of the initiative since it has been implemented?
The Council is still considered to be in an early stage of implementation, therefore no major evaluations on the Council have yet been conducted, or at least published.
EVIDENCE ON EFFECTIVENESS: How effective is the policy instrument?
The National Skills Council has definitely proved effective in bringing stakeholders together and incentivising them to work collectively, rather than individually. More needs to be done on communicating outcomes with the general public, yet this is understandable given that the Council stills seems to be finding its ground on a national level.
SUSTAINABILITY: How sustainable is the policy instrument? Do you expect the instrument to continue over the next few years and why?
The ongoing demand exists for a multi-stakeholder Council to initiate research, discussions and actions on issues of (skills) importance. The turbulence brought about to the education and employment sector in 2020 and 2021 makes it quite probable for this level of demand to increase, leading to the prosperity of the NSC.