A half-day conference on ‘Bridging the Skills Gap in the STEM Sector’ was hosted by the MBB in collaboration with the Malta University Holding Company (MUHC), on Tuesday 12th September at the Malta Chamber in Valletta. The participation of high-profile experts, together with industry professionals and entrepreneurs contributed to a fruitful discussion on the subject matter. This conference formed part of MBB – University’s initiatives under the EU-funded Go&Learn Network, which provides access to an international catalogue of training seminars and company visits for students and educators. In so doing, the project promotes a better understanding of the business environment and the potential for networking.
In his opening address, Malta Chamber President Mr. Frank V. Farrugia stated that the current “lack of STEM skills present in Malta’s labour market is significantly hampering our progression to an innovation-driven economy”. He emphasised that whilst new technologies are emerging at an unprecedented rate, “a worrying lack of synchronisation” exists between the education system and the sectors related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
University of Malta Rector Prof. Alfred Vella, MCAST Vice-Principal Ing. Vince Maione, Education Ministry Consultant Dr. Alexander Grech and Malta Chamber HR Committee Chair Ms. Catherine Calleja all participated in the first panel debate. This discussion – chaired by the Head of the National Skills Council, Prof. Joseph Cilia – specifically focused on identifying the causes behind the existing STEM skills gap. One of the mentioned challenges was that students are exposed to STEM subjects at a relatively late stage in their academic journey. In addition, the means used to depict and teach STEM subjects are often not as creative and innovative as they should be. It was emphasised how the concept behind the Esplora Interactive Science Centre at Bighi should be reaching the students also within the classroom.
The second panel discussion featured Malta Life Sciences Park Director Ing. Joseph Sammut, TAKEOFF Business Incubator Manager Ing. Joseph Bartolo, Altaro Software Co-founder Mr. David Vella and ELTY Food Founder Ms. Jeanette Cameron. Led by MBB CEO Joe Tanti, this panel aptly discussed the role of the business sector in the face of this Europe-wide issue. It was determined that the role of internships and work-based learning is crucial to ensuring that students obtain a first-hand experience of their prospective careers, before they start seeking full-time employment.
In his closing address, MBB President Dr. David Zahra stated that by 2025, the “demand for STEM professionals is expected to grow by around 8%”. He encouraged the private sector, stakeholders and authorities to give priority to the STEM sector by forming strategic partnerships that seek to “upgrade our education and training systems in line with the fast changing economic and societal environment.”
For more information on the Go&Learn+ project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, click here or contact Marija Elena Borg on 21 251 719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1: President of The Malta Chamber, Mr Frank V. Farrugia – opening the conference. Credit MBB.
2: University of Malta Rector: Prof. Alfred Vella, MCAST Vice-Principal: Ing. Vince Maione, Education Ministry Consultant: Dr Alexander Grech, and The Malta Chamber HR Committee Chairperson: Ms Catherine Callejja – moderated by Prof. Joseph Cilia. Credit MBB.
3: Malta Life Sciences Park Director: Ing. Joseph Sammut, TAKEOFF Business Incubator Manager: Ing. Joseph Bartolo, Co-founder of Altaro Software: Mr David Vella, and Founder of ELTY Food: Ms Jeanette Cameron – moderated by MBB CEO Joe Tanti. Credit MBB.
4. President of the Malta Business Bureau, Dr David Zahra – closing of the conference. Credit MBB.
More photos can be found here.