The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) strategic plan, launched in May 2019, outlined seven strategic objectives aiming to stimulate inclusion, excellence and equity in VET.
The plan – focusing on developing the physical campus as well as the quality of teaching and learning – aims to bolster the image of vocational and professional education and training (VPET) while reinforcing the college’s governance and management structures.
Since its launch, the strategy implementation office has developed operational plans and individual staff plans. These have been translated into annual and thematic action plans assigned to different operational units and departments.
Continuous monitoring and appraisal structures have been set up. A comprehensive review takes place and status reports are prepared for the governing board twice a year.
During 2019-20, the following actions were implemented:
1. investing in modern infrastructure that is fit for staff and learners:
- completion of the new building of the Institute of Engineering and Transport;
- upgrading and renewing equipment of childcare facilities;
- inclusion of green infrastructure elements in all refurbished buildings;
- installation of additional bandwidth and Wi-Fi points in teaching, learning and public spaces;
- launch of the management information system (MIS);
- intranet access for all MCAST administrative staff
2. reinforcing the image and value of VPET:
- streamlining the college’s social media presence;
- training staff members to improve the customer care service for potential applicants and stakeholders;
- launching sector-specific promotion campaigns together with Aviation and HVAC industry partners;
- strengthening school liaison practices with the education and employment ministry focusing on VET in secondary schools by providing them with lecturers in engineering technology, ICT and computer studies;
- setting up an alumni network to raise awareness of the value of VPET;
3. introducing an alumni tracker/tracer mechanism that allows the college to remain in touch with graduates and follow their career progression. Improving learner experience:
- prioritising the development of transversal skills through the study programmes;
- making e-learning modules available to learners;
- introducing inter-/intra-personal skills in MQF level 4 and 6 programmes (EQF levels 4 and 6) – through workshop-based community work – using reflective journals and coaching;
- introducing pastoral care in all MQF level 1 and 2 programmes (EQF levels 1 and 2);
- opening a multi-faith room;
- introducing a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme to provide learners at MQF levels 4 to 6 (EQF level 4 and level 6) with a genuine community service experience;
- offering new master degree programmes using blended learning (e.g. master in vocational education and applied research 4.0 was launched with an innovative design of weekend schools);
- MCAST lecturing staff attended continuous professional development (CPD) and specific induction training;
- introducing a new bachelor degree in VET for a new job profile in industry, targeted to employees who can mentor apprentices and better link the worlds of education and employment;
4. consolidating work-based learning:
- launch of six new apprenticeship degree programmes at MQF level 6 (EQF level 6);
- rolling out of a European Social Fund (ESF) project focusing on the quality of apprenticeship;
5. incentivising the development of applied research and sustainable innovation:
- spearheading research and innovation in vocational education and training;
- finalising the thematic strategy of the Applied Research and Innovation Centre;
- encouraging doctoral research to be carried out by MCAST lecturers and supporting applied and impact research;
- publishing two editions of the research journal which serves as a platform for showcasing vocational and applied research;
6. reinforcing the management and governance structures:
- setting up an internal audit office to run a number of audits, investigations and checks as well as facilitate reviews by third parties;
- revisiting the HR office, the finance office and the communications department.