Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) CEO and Principal Joachim James Calleja has called for businesses to take on more students on apprenticeship schemes to boost work-based learning.
This comes after MCAST held an opening ceremony to celebrate the new academic year 2023-2024 at the Paola Campus on Monday. During the ceremony, it was announced that the college received over 4,000 new applications during the first two calls, an overall increase of 21 per cent compared to last year’s applications. It observed positive trends across all six institutes, with an “encouraging increase” in science, technology, engineering mathematics (STEM) subjects. Over five years, applications for courses in the areas increased by 16 per cent, which includes a 66 per cent rise in female student uptake.
Professor Calleja remarked that the college’s “diversity” is reflected through the staff and student population, together with the learning offer with over 200 courses across different levels.
“We aim to enhance the vocational education and training experience through apprenticeships, collaboration with industry partners, and investments in our campus academic facilities,” he said.
“Only with support from all stakeholders can we ensure that all students are successfully prepared for employment,” he continued.
Professor Calleja lamented that many students still find themselves without an apprenticeship programme, leaving some at risk of not graduating.
He proceeded to invite employers to “knock on MCAST’s doors” and recruit students as apprentices, as doing so is an “investment for employers as much as it benefits learners”.
Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation Clifton Grima said that over the past years, there was a “significant investment in education infrastructure” in a bid to “modernise the campus and learning environment” at MCAST.
“We invest in students by offering courses at all levels and focusing on excellence and quality education. It is with great satisfaction that we see students’ enthusiasm in continuing their education at the college,” he continued.
He revealed that by September, MCAST had received around 8,408 applications from new and returning students for full-time courses. “Youths recognise the importance of investing in their future to widen their knowledge and discover new skills, sending a clear message that they want to learn by doing and having access to the world of employment,” Minister Grima added.
Kunsill Studenti MCAST Acting President Rohasia Zammit highlighted the need to embrace diversity within the college community, appealing to students to actively participate in student life and voice their concerns about societal challenges. Addressing employers, she appealed to them to offer learning opportunities to students through work-based learning.
Additionally, students from different faiths were invited to share their prayers and reflections for the new academic year during the ceremony, with music being performed by Doreen Galea, who sang Maltese poetry by Dun Karm Psaila, Rużar Briffa, and Anton Buttigieg. She was accompanied by her son Dominic Galea on the piano, while students Faye Mifsud Midolo and Edmilson Zammit hosted the ceremony.
MCAST has now opened one final call for student applications, which closes on 6th October (Friday).
MCAST Principal and CEO Joachim James Calleja speaking during the opening ceremony / MCAST
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