Activities initiatives to promote digital skills in Malta

Publication Date: Jan 21, 2019
 
Article by Nadette Zerafa published on the Sunday Times of Malta on 20.01.2019

2018 has been a year of many challenges for the eSkills Malta Foundation.   It was one full of hard work but above all full of enthusiasm. One of the Foundation’s constant challenges is the energising of the digital economy sectoral skills in such a competitive environment. With this in mind the Foundation embarked on various iniatives throughout 2018.
 
Digital Opportunity Traineeships Scheme

Digital Opportunity Traineeships Scheme

In 2018 the Digital Opportunity Traineeships opportunity was launched.  This is an EU-funded training initiative which aims to help companies fill digital roles with prospective digitally competent candidates, while at the same time the student will get practical experience in the workplace. On Tuesday 17th April 2018 the eSkills Malta Foundation in association with European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) and with the participation of All DIGITAL hosted the launch in Malta of the ‘Digital Opportunity Scheme for Traineeships’. This scheme uses the Erasmus framework to achieve its aims.
 
Launch of the ‘Guidelines to Increase and Retain Women in ICT’

Launch of the ‘Guidelines to Increase and Retain Women in ICT’

One of the Foundation’s major initiatives in 2018 was the launch of the ‘Guidelines to Increase and Retain Women in ICT’.   The guidelines drawn up by the Foundation are meant to help in addressing the issue of the low percentage of women in the ICT sector.  The launch was held on 11th April 2018 at the MITA Data Centre and was attended by the Honourable Minister Helena Dalli, Minister for European Affairs and Equality and the Honourable Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, who also took part in a panel discussion on the subject.

Training of Careers and Guidance teachers

Training of Careers and Guidance teachers

In 2018 the Foundation continued working on raising the awareness and knowledge on ICT careers within the career guidance community.  So much so that as Malta’s National Coalition the Foundation pledged to train 60 career and guidance teachers yearly.  The Foundation recognises the importance of reaching out to career and guidance teachers who are key influencers in study choices and career aspiration.  In order to do so the Foundation works hand in hand with the National School Support Services from the Department for Educational Services, Ministry of Education. 

Two Day Training on the European e-Competency Framework



One of the Foundation’s aims is that of developing the IT Profession. Amongst other things this objective includes the promotion of the eCompetence Framework to serve as a common language on the skills and competences required by the industry for the most common roles.  Through this, practitioners and organisations can assess whether they have the competences required in their ICT positions.  The Framework also strengthens HR processes in the continuous professional development of ICT practitioners.  The Foundation has identified the European eCompetence Framework as an important block for the the development of the local ICT industry and community of ICT practitioners. On the 28th and 29th March 2018 eSkills Malta Foundation organised, facilitated and funded a two day eCompetency (eCF) Training course.  This was done in collaboration with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS). The Foundation had been working with CEPIS to pilot this course in Malta as the first country to receive such practical training by CEPIS.  The course attracted attendees coming, from the Public and Private Sector, as well as the education sector.  

Education



In line with its statutory purpose one of the Foundation’s activities is increasing awareness amongst students on career opportunities and competences.  In collaboration with the Student Services Department the Foundation facilitated school visits to over 200 Year 9 students who had already chosen computing as an optional subject.  The purpose of these visits is to help students to understand better the use of ICT, the various roles and the respective knowledge and skills requirements.  The visits also serve to encourage the students to pursue ICT studies at post secondary and tertiary levels.  With this in mind the Foundation were also present during various Career Fairs and Expos held during 2018.

EU Code Week 2018 reaches new records and takes place in 72 countries



EU Code Week 2018 has proven to be the most successful to date. The total number of activities registered was over 41,000, involving hundreds of thousands of participants, most of them in schools.

Of the 41,000 EU Code Week activities organised this year, more than 36,000, or 88%, were carried out in schools. This means that over 10% of schools in the EU and Western Balkans participated in EU Code Week this year, as targeted by the European Commission for 2018.  Malta is one of the few countries that has reached and superseded this target. The total number of Public, Church and Independent schools who took part in this year’s code week was of 192 with the involvement of approximately 6,000 teachers and 28,300 students. This means that 82% of all Maltese schools have participated with over 190 coding events which have been held, a total which was also outstanding and which placed Malta at the top of the map with the most number of events per capita! 

Cyber Security



The eSkills Malta Foundation, in collaboration with MITA, PwC, University of Malta, and SECFORCE, organised an event on Cyber Security. The Event was hosted at MITA Data Centre Santa Venera, and was based on two half-days.  Both dates were well attended by some one hundred persons coming from private industry and government sectors.  

These are but a few of the initiatives carried out and the future holds quite a challenge for the eSkills Malta Foundation.  Looking ahead to 2019 the Foundation will have even greater challenges, which will be faced with hard work, determination and enthusiasm.