On 25 and 26 May, members of the country reviews steering groups from Malta, Lithuania, Greece, Italy and Slovenia met in Thessaloniki for a policy-learning exercise. They discussed apprenticeship schemes in their countries, bringing in different experiences and perspectives, and learned more on how the reviews work.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) has taken over responsibility for apprenticeship and is aiming to bring it to the centre of local industry. The reform is rooted in cooperation between MCAST and local industry which provides apprentices with high-quality skills indispensable for local industry and economic growth.
In July 2014, the national commission for further and higher education (NCFHE) launched a consultation on vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE) policy in Malta.
The Maltese Ministry of Education and Employment has volunteered to participate as a case study in a Cedefop country review on apprenticeships. The review focuses on policies to improve apprenticeship schemes in Malta, identifies strengths and challenges of these policies, and presents recommendations to ensure quality apprenticeships. The other country participating in the initial phase of this review is Lithuania.
Current national apprenticeship schemes in Malta, namely the technician apprenticeship scheme (TAS) and the extended skill training scheme (ESTS) are to be reformed.
‘With our limited resources we will try to come closer to the Member States and work with them to push vocational education and training (VET) reform further,’ Cedefop Director James Calleja told the first validation workshop of the agency’s review of Lithuania’s and Malta’s apprenticeship systems.
Cedefop Director James Calleja praised Malta’s efforts to draft a national quality assurance framework for further and higher education based on the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European higher education area (ESG) and a European quality assurance in VET (EQAVET) perspective.
Minister of Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo and Cedefop Director James Calleja launched the thematic country review on apprenticeships for Malta at the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in Valetta on 30 May.
James Calleja was selected by the European Commission as new Director of Cedefop. Mr Calleja has been involved in vocational training since 2001 and is currently Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Employment in his native Malta. He has also served as Chief Executive of the Malta Qualifications Council (2005-10) and the National Commission for Higher Education (2009-10).
Why are countries like Germany and Switzerland more successful economically than France and the UK? The reason could lie in the different approach that these countries give to vocational education. The French educational system ‘looks down on vocational training perpetuating the notion that intellectual jobs are more worthy than manual work,’ says Jerome Frantz, chairman of the Federation des Industries Mechaniques.