Encouraging the take up of ICT skills!
Article by Bernadette Zerafa published on the Malta Independent ICT Feature on 16.06.2016
Developing the right human capital for the digital age is one of the pillars of the National ICT 2020 strategy – Digital Malta. The eSkills Malta Foundation is a multi stakeholder initiative that recognises synergy of action between Government, education and industry as a key enabler of the human capital outcomes identified in the Digital Malta Strategy. One of the Foundation’s main purposes includes actions aimed at improving ICT educational offerings and capacity building in the ICT Educational Community.
In line with its statutory purpose, one of the Foundation’s activities is focused on increasing awareness amongst students on the career opportunities and competences required for ICT jobs. With this in mind, the eSkills Malta Foundation in collaboration with MITA and the Student Services Department within the Directorate for Educational services, during the scholastic year starting October 2015 and May 2016 organised a number of school visits to the MITA Data Centre in Santa Venera. Nearly 300 year 9 students participated in these visits. All students have selected computing as an optional subject. It is the Foundation’s mandate to encourage the students to pursue ICT studies at post secondary and tertiary levels. The students were given the opportunity to attend a two hour visit at the MITA Data Centre. The main purpose of the visit is to help students to understand better the use of ICT and the skill requirements.
The students were addressed by professionals in the field of ICT and were also briefed on networking infrastructure, after which they were given the valuable chance to tour MITA’s vital network operations hub and the government help desk and call centre. This was followed by a hands-on experience offered by MITA’s Digital Outreach group who gave the students the opportunity to use two digital games built by the winning teams of the Gamify-IT held in April 2015. The students thoroughly enjoyed exploring predator-prey relationships within different habitats and learning about the events that occurred during the Great Siege of Malta. The visit ended with a short presentation by an HR representative outlining the different digital career paths open to students. A pack of colourful eSkills info graphics and educational material explaining career paths was distributed to all students.
The schools which took part in this initiative were the St Gorg Preca College, Blata l-Bajda Middle School; the Maria Regina College, Mosta Girls’ Senior School; the St Theresa College, Mriehel Senior School; the St Thomas More College, Hamrun Senior School; the St Ignatius College, Handaq Middle School; the Maria Regina College, Mosta Boys’ Senior School; the St Ignatius College, Handaq Senior School; the St Margaret College, Verdala Senior School; the St Claire College, Pembroke Middle and Senior School; the Gozo College, Rabat Senior School; the Gozo College, Rabat Middle School; the St Thomas More College, Zejtun Girls’ Secondary; the St Gorg Preca College, Hamrun Senior School; the St Benedict College, Kirkop Middle and Senior School and the St Theresa College, St Venera Boys’ Secondary.
The eSkills Malta Foundation believes that students have had a lot to gain from these visits and consequently is looking forward to organising more visits during the scholastic year 2016-2017 together with MITA and the Student Services Department within the Directorate for Educational services.