Malta's largest vocational education institution, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) has been entrusted with implementation of the national vocational education and training (VET) policy. This was the result of a rigorous consultation process led by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education in collaboration with various VET stakeholders. The new policy outlines 18 key areas of development, which revolve around widening VET provision, strengthening existing and developing new measures, and creating a structure for implementation.
VET courses are currently being offered in post-secondary education at levels 1 to 6 of the Malta qualifications framework (MQF), and partly in secondary education at MQF level 3. The policy proposes to develop VET subjects further within compulsory education up to MQF level 3. It also plans to strengthen VET level 6 degrees and introduce VET level 7 postgraduate degrees.
The policy will continue several good practices already in place. Quality assurance in VET will remain a top priority. MCAST will keep catering for labour market needs by addressing training requirements of investors and involving them in course design and delivery. Focus will continue to be on work-based learning, continuing VET and lifelong learning. Strengthening VET pedagogy will include teacher training and professional development, use of a learning-outcomes-based approach and reference to blended learning. It is also important to continue emphasising VET’s social commitment to areas such as career education, inclusion and vulnerable groups. Through the policy, MCAST will continue working towards internationalising VET by attracting more foreign students to Malta and strengthening existing relationships with foreign colleges and universities.
One new measure suggests expanding data collection and analysis to address skill gaps, guide policy direction and cater for vulnerable groups better. MCAST is also committed to supporting private VET provision and developing systems for validating informal and non-formal learning, including occupational standards.
A national VET steering group composed of all relevant stakeholders will be set up to ensure proper structures for this policy, to anticipate labour market and industry needs further and advise policy-makers and VET providers.
VET has become a key factor in Malta's economic growth by making society more knowledge-intensive, and promoting active citizenship, competition and employability. A diversified higher education system, complementing a well-developed upper and post-secondary VET system, is the best way to offer as many people as possible opportunities to fulfil their potential and acquire education that prepares them for the future.