WE MAKE: A new project for businesses to implement sustainable investments

In collaboration among the Energy and Water Agency (EWA), the Malta Business Bureau and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, businesses within the manufacturing industry will be given more guidance on how to consume energy and water efficiently.

The agreement was signed by the EWA, the Malta Business Bureau and the Malta Chamber, in the presence of Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli.

With the WE MAKE project (Water and Energy Management and Knowledge Transfer in Manufacturing Enterprises), the manufacturing sector will benefit from energy audits, offered by the EWA, so that businesses are guided on how to enhance their energy consumption and operate efficiently. This project will offer information on possible financial investments, where a forum will be created so that businesses can discuss and present best practices in the sector. This will lead businesses to have more guidance on how to operate sustainably.

Thanks to the WE MAKE project, the manufacturing sector will strengthen the competitiveness of the industry and therefore will increase investment in Malta.

During a press conference, Minister Miriam Dalli remarked on how with this agreement and collaboration more businesses will be assisted to have sustainable operations.

“The government is continuously incentivising the general public as well as the private sector through various incentives and measures whilst implementing policies so that our country will continue working on decarbonisation. Through collective work with different social partners and entities, the government is implementing this aim. Therefore, though WE MAKE project, we will continue to facilitate further the manufacturing sector, whilst assuring that they will have all the necessary tools and resources, to be part of this sustainable change”, said Minister Dalli.

“Malta must mobilise its resources in collaboration with the private sector to ensure that new and hybrid technologies, business re-engineering and other opportunities are mobilised to bridge the significant gap between our fossil fuel economy and the clean, smart and sustainable economy of tomorrow. For this reason, we are pleased to partner with the national authority – the Energy and Water Agency – and the Malta Business Bureau on the WE MAKE project”, stated the President of Malta Chamber Ms Marisa Xuereb.

President of the Malta Business Bureau, Ms Alison Mizzi said, “Malta Business Bureau has been developing and running energy and water projects for over a decade now. We have learnt that, while considerable technical knowledge on efficiency does exist, it is concentrated in a few performing businesses. The same can be said for knowledge of financing options. We therefore believe that it is important to have an ongoing mechanism for knowledge transfer and aim for the WE MAKE project to fulfil this role”.

A national debate on the future of education

The Malta Chamber launched its policy recommendations on a National Workforce Strategy in response to the ongoing national consultation process on a Labour Market Reform, which was drafted following an internal consultation together with RSM, which leads the Chamber’s HR Committee.

The document includes over 50 recommendations on various aspects of the labour market, some of which relate to education. Of all these recommendations, a particular one was picked up by certain sections of the media, namely the proposal to increase compulsory education to 18 years from the current 16 years.

During press launch on Wednesday, the Malta Chamber explained that the additional two years should not be spent in secondary education but in post-secondary training, as successful employees of the future need to have a solid basis on which to develop their careers. Leaving the education system at 16 is too early and Malta is often singled out internationally for having a high rate of early school leavers, with almost 1 out of every 6 students leaving school aged 16. And the majority without having achieved any qualifications at Level 3 (Ordinary level) or higher.

The Covid pandemic has made things worse as the current generation of students already has two scholastic years that have been significantly disrupted, and the impact of this is already being felt.

Remarkably, two unions representing teachers and educators came out strongly against this proposal, evidently without having read the 50-page document which is publicly available on the Chamber’s website.

The document stands out for highlighting the importance of employers investing in the upskilling of their employees and of working hand in hand with educational institutions to provide a more relevant and effective vocational educational experience. Yet, one of these unions interpreted the proposal of extending compulsory schooling as businesses wanting to shrug off their responsibilities to train new workers for their immediate needs by expecting educational institutions to carry out training through the proposed extended compulsory school age.

Among the objections raised against the proposal is the argument that there are not enough teachers to cope with the increased demand it would entail. This indicates that teachers’ representatives are assuming that the additional two years need to be spent in secondary schools rather than in post-secondary schools that are constantly trying to attract more students. But even if the lack of teachers is the main limiting factor, we need to address that as we are doing in other sectors by recruiting the required resources from other countries. We cannot possibly constrain the educational attainment of future generations by the availability of teachers locally.

However, the most heart-breaking objection was making it imperative for students to stay in education till they are 18 that was raised is the possible decline in tax revenue from 16- to 18-year-olds in the labour market. If students enter the labour market at the lowest ranks, without adequate qualifications, they have a high probability of remaining at the lower ranks for life because of their poor educational attainment. Coming from representatives of educators, it is appalling.

“The national debate on the future of education needs to involve all those who have a genuine interest in the prosperity and well-being of future generations. It needs to be free from short-sightedness and immediate self-serving interests.” – Marisa Xuereb, President, Malta Chamber.
The Chamber recently issued another document through its Education Thematic Committee, which is made up of representatives from various areas of education as well as employers. This document, entitled ‘Education for the Future’ is essentially an ode to educators, stating that:
“This document has mainly focused on the educator as a central pawn in the education system. We felt that we need to approach educational development and reform in Malta by giving educators their due… We appreciate that as a caring profession teaching is more of a calling rather than just another job. However, whilst altruism is at the centre of the profession, we cannot purely rely on this trait but need to work hard to ensure that a good mix of intrinsic and extrinsic factors come together for educators to feel prepared, empowered and respected by a society that demands so much out of them and who are responsible for developing the human capital of tomorrow.”

There was no reaction from the unions representing teachers and educators on the above document, but many educators who read it gave positive feedback.

Whether employers, parents, educators, or policymakers, we are all disappointed by the current educational outcomes, and we all need to work together to make sure that the educational experience improves for everyone and that students do not rush out of schooling empty-handed. It is a collective duty.

RSM Malta appoints Fabianne Ruggier as Director

RSM Malta announces the appointment of Ms. Fabianne Ruggier as Director of RSM Malta within its Next Gen Advisory team as from 1st July 2021. This promotion came following just under 6 years serving RSM Malta as Executive Consultant.

Fabianne has over eighteen years of professional experience. Earlier in her career she spear-headed national policy and public-private alliances in the public sector, to then join a private multi-national and introduced global programmes in Malta. Over the past six years she established the HR Function at the Firm to then transition into Consulting.

She works at the strategic level with clients implementing organisational transformation. She heads a multi-disciplinary team that provide change management services to clients, bringing together business, digital, data and people expertise. She is the Chairperson of the HR and Talent Thematic at the Malta Chamber of Commerce. She is also a Board member of the Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JAYE) Board of Directors.

Fabianne holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master’s in Business Administration. She also holds a Post-Graduate Certificate from Cambridge on Digital Disruption.

Managing Partner George Gregory congratulated Fabianne on her new role within RSM Malta. “Fabianne’s rise through the ranks of RSM since joining us 6 years ago is testament that the values we hold can truly lead to personal and professional growth. Excellence in execution and innovation are just two of the pillars that we rely on each day to solve problems for our clients, two values that Fabianne has repeatedly shown over the years. I congratulate her for a well-deserved appointment, and I look forward to working with her as we embark on new and exciting challenges,” said Gregory.

Commenting on her recent appointment, Ms. Ruggier said, “From the very first days at the Firm, almost 6 years ago, I felt home. This Directorship gives me the bandwidth to experiment and stretch myself in the pursuit of growth both personally and professionally. I look forward to the opportunity to expand the Consulting portfolio of the Firm and ultimately be of service to our clients.”

RSM Malta is a member of RSM International; a worldwide network of independent professional services firms, providing audit, tax, and specialist advisory services to ambitious growing organisations around the globe. RSM International is represented by 128 member and correspondent firms in over 120 countries. The combined organisation has over 48,000 professionals in more than 820 offices.

New service for enterprises that combines mental health and entrepreneurship

In collaboration between government entities, business representatives and the Richmond Foundation, a mental health assistance service is to be made available. MENT + is an initiative launched after several businesses recognised the impact of the pandemic on mental health.

The agreement was signed between Malta Enterprise, Business First, The Malta Chamber and the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, and the Richmond Foundation, in the presence of Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli.

The MENT+ service will be provided in two ways: firstly, through the website, where training will be provided in the form of short clips tackling topics such as how one can adapt to change, mental health and resilience, amongst others. Secondly, for those who would like further assistance, the Richmond Foundation will be providing more aid through one-to-one sessions to address further the needs of the individual.

Minister Miriam Dalli explained that during the past months, Business First was instrumental in supporting enterprises, working together with Malta Enterprise.“The pandemic has not only impacted our economy but also the mental health of many people, employers and businesses. Therefore, with this agreement, we will provide the MENT+ service, to assist enterprises in an effective and realistic way”, said Minister Dalli.

Chief Executive of Business First, Ms Marika Tonna, said that, “Business First has direct experience with businesses and enterprises. During the pandemic, Business First assisted more than 146,000 clients. Apart from the financial assistance provided by the government – such as the wage supplement and other schemes – businesses needed guidance on how to cope with mental health and how to address the changes that were brought about by the pandemic, which impacted employees, clients and businesses”.

“One’s wellbeing is not complete if one is not taking care of their mental health, as this will affect productivity and innovation. Therefore, it is crucial to integrate mental health with business. This service will meet the needs of employers and directors in various businesses”, stated Richmond Foundation Chief Executive Ms Stephania Dimech Sant.

The Malta Chamber launches its recommendations on the National Workforce Strategy

“The immediate human capital challenges for the country’s business community are the staff shortages and difficulties in bringing in and retaining foreign workers, as well as the increase in public sector employment figures. This has resulted in increased competition for employees in a very tight labour market” says Ms Marisa Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber.

The Malta Chamber, in collaboration with RSM Malta, presented its recommendations on the National Workforce Strategy during a press conference which was attended by the Honourable Minister Clyde Caruana and Opposition Spokesperson Hon. Dr Jason Azzopardi, among others.

The central theme to the recommendations is to nurture, attract, retain and upskill talent so as to boost productivity and increase the added value provided by the workforce. The document identifies the four key workforce challenges experienced by the industry, namely:

  1. Encouraging active labour market participation by increasing the female participation rate, promoting active ageing and focusing on early school leavers;
  2. Tackling skills gaps and mismatches to address systemic gaps and incentivising upskilling and reskilling;
  3. Attracting and retaining local and foreign talent to fill the gaps within the Maltese labour market;
  4. Improving productivity and workers’ added value and addressing under-employment in certain sectors.

These challenges and the proposed recommendations were drafted to address deficiencies in the short and medium term. In total, 56 tangible recommendations were proposed, paired with 48 quantifiable success measures.

In her concluding remarks, Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of The Malta Chamber, said, “The Malta Chamber believes that it has proposed tangible proposals and it expects the policy makers to review the recommendations in detail and come back with an action plan. The Malta Chamber will offer its assistance for the successful implementation of this plan, in order to make our country more competitive and build an economy which is more sustainable and people centred.”

Download the full document here

Expression Of Interest: Production Of L-INTRAPRIŻA On TVMNEWS+

Reference:      ‘L-Intrapriża’ EoI 2021

Issued by:       The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry & Malta Enterprise

Issue Date:      Wednesday 18 August 2021

Closing Date:  Friday 27 August 2021 @ 12.00hrs

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and Malta Enterprise are issuing an EoI for the production of the programme L-Intrapriza  which will be aired on TVMnews+ from October 2021 till June 2022.

The Programme follows on the success of the ‘Make IT’ series carried out by The Malta Chamber in collaboration with Malta Enterprise in 2019, a campaign aimed at encouraging young people to consider a career in the manufacturing industry. The campaign may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2uO5zW_mN-JsooxGkE4Glg/videos.

With this in mind, The Malta Chamber and Malta Enterprise developed a new concept consisting of a series of TV episodes partially modelled on the ‘Make It’ series.  It will consist of:

  • Interviewing and filming individuals working in the manufacturing and other related industries,
  • Underlining the realities faced by local business operators, and
  • Highlighting the support that both The Malta Chamber and Malta Enterprise provide to these industries, businesses and enterprises.

Each episode will also include the most recent local business news and events organised by The Malta Chamber and Malta Enterprise.

EoI responses are to be sent via email on procurement@maltachamber.org.mt.  Submissions must clearly indicate the Reference of the EoI.


The clarifications can be downloaded here

Supporting and promoting Malta’s pension sustainability through collaboration between The Malta Chamber and STM Malta

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, and STM Malta Pension Services Ltd signed a bronze collaboration agreement to further support the policy framework of The Malta Chamber and ensure that pension systems continue to protect older people from poverty and allowing them to enjoy decent living standards and economic independence.

“The Malta Chamber is once again collaborating with local business champions towards a smarter and more sustainable Malta,” said Ms Marisa Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber while noting that through the pairing with the ‘Pensions Committee’, STM Malta Pension Services Ltd. will assist The Chamber in increasing awareness through educational initiatives on issues regarding the sustainability of the state pension.

“The aim of this collaboration is two-fold. Through our rigorous policy team, the objective is to educate and assist both the business community and the Maltese population at large on matters related to private and workplace pension schemes. Furthermore, Malta will be promoted internationally as a leading base for international cross-border pension provision,” said Ms Xuereb.

Deborah Schembri, Managing Director and CEO of STM Malta Pension Services Ltd. said that the financial sustainability of pension schemes is indispensable and given their huge impact on public budgets and labour supply, they must be considered in pension policy.

Ms Schembri highlighted that the main goals of pension and retirement policies are to provide adequate income in old age while ensuring financial sustainability and maximising employment through incentives in support of stable formal work careers and longer working lives for women and men.

“Complementary retirement savings are necessary to secure adequate replacement rates in the future. Supplementary pensions can take the form of occupational pensions, i.e. pension schemes organised at the level of a company or sector and accessed through an employment relationship, or personal pensions, i.e. individual contracts with a pension provider,” said Ms Schembri.

This is relevant both for local pensions provision and also international cross-border pension provision.

The CEO and Managing Director of STM Malta Pension Services Ltd, said that supplementary pensions will play an ever-greater role in maintaining the future adequacy of pensions, especially where the adequacy of public pensions is expected to deteriorate.

The agreement was signed by Ms Marisa Xuereb and Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo as President and Deputy President of The Malta Chamber respectively, and Ms Deborah Schembri and Mr Aaron Cilia, Managing Director/CEO and Director of STM Malta respectively.

The Evolving World of HR and Business

A note by Joseph Farrugia, Founder & Director StreetHR

For us, the last few weeks were truly refreshing. Not that we have now put the pandemic behind us (far from it) but we have managed to dedicate our attention to the bigger picture beyond the current challenges and thus shift our focus to critical discussions about the future instead. Together with the HR GIG 6 team we have held numerous discussions with key stakeholders, including the Malta Chamber of Commerce and the HR GIG speakers, whom I am gladly presenting here.

We shifted our focus towards 2030 and asked some fundamental questions with the intention to provide direction and food for thought for business executives, decision makers and HR professionals alike. Approaching the subject of ‘Employees of the Future’ from a 360-degree view gives us so much more visibility than single dimensional thinking.

The truth is that we cannot work and act in isolation. On one side, CEOs and decision makers are charting the way they do business by setting goals and objectives, whilst their evolving HR team is realising that attracting the right talent and finding the proper supply, is proving more and more challenging. On the other hand, in separate board-rooms a few kilometres away, educators and policy makers are setting up educational and national strategies to fulfil skills’ gaps and influence market dynamics. Meanwhile new generations are entering the workplace with a totally different mindset. Ever increasingly there is the question ‘are the new generations prepared with what is actually needed from them once they leave their school benches?’

At the backdrop the business world (partly boosted by the pandemic itself) as well as the economic context and consumer behaviour is transforming at such a fast pace that no ‘static’ system, in isolation, will be able to address the core of the problem. Instead, we need synergy between businesses, educators, policy makers, HR professionals and other stakeholders to work together towards building a world worth living in and passing on to the future generations.

So, at HR GIG 6 we have brought together a diverse and strong team of speakers who together will generate a 360-degree view on the ‘Employees of the Future’ in one holistic discussion.

Corinne Fenech, StreetHR’s Strategic Partner and founder of TinkTings, will set the scene by revealing prevailing trends in Employee Experience (EX) and Customer Experience (CX) with a projected view of 2030. Rachael Blackburn, Head of Culture at APS Bank plc, will then take the discussion to the next step by highlighting the need to align culture with strategy, and also unveiling HR states and functions in response to the predicted future.

Following this, is a panel discussion which will be moderated and challenged by Marisa Xuereb, President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce! Panel members will be none less than Alexiei Dingli, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malta, Dr. Gordon Cordina, Executive Director at E-Cubed Consultants Limited, Edel Cassar, Director Strategy Implementation at MCAST, Zach Ciappara, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at FreeHour Malta and Tamas Banyai, Chief Executive Officer at Epic.

We will put a complex matrix together and address vital topics which range from insights from the AI world and the practical evolution of technology to whether HR and Businesses strategies are in themselves responders or shapers of economic growth or change. We will see what is happening behind the scenes at a national level to address any skills’ shortages and whether these are in sync with the perceived business needs of the future.

Are business leaders and educators communicating with each other?

Tamas Banyai and Zach Ciappara, both CEOs, but coming from totally different backgrounds will share their hands-on experience on founding and/or transforming businesses through change. Naturally, we will also address leadership models and challenge ourselves on whether today’s leaders and managers are equipped with the right skills to lead in the world of work which is upcoming.

Employees of the Future – Why should you join us?

In a nutshell, at HR GIG 6, ‘Employees of the Future’ we will present a 360-degree perspective of this exciting and strategic topic, with the aim of adding value and thinking proactively. We are aiming for a fresh discussion, neither influenced nor hindered by any obstacles or narrow views. We would also like to have a casual discussion, one that is down to earth and practical. Hence ‘jeans’ or ‘casual’ attire are absolutely welcome and we leave behind all titles and formalities just to create a friendly and receptive atmosphere where people can interact with the speakers in a fun and practical manner, that has also become synonymous with the HR GIG branded event.

The ultimate aim is to provide back to work direction or reflection points for business leaders, decision makers and HR professionals and we encourage speakers to share tools and ideas that can be picked up by the attending audience.

We look forward to you joining us for HR GIG 6 on Thursday 2nd September 2021 at The Xara Lodge in Rabat (or online via live transmission from the venue if you prefer). Stay with us after the discussion for a fun and interactive activity delivered by our collaborating partners Outdoor Living, great live music performed by our guest band ‘The Busker’ and needless to say, some good drinks and nibbles delivered by our caterers at the The Xara Lodge. For those who are joining online – we are preparing something for you too and we will share more details with you directly in the upcoming communication.

The event is sponsored by our Merchandising Partner Corporate Gifts Malta, our AV Partner The AV Warehouse and our sponsors Eurosport, Enemed, Franks, Shireburn, Outdoor Living and Costa Coffee.

See you very soon!

BNF Bank is expanding the network of Express Deposit Machines

BNF Bank has installed two new Express Deposit Machines, in addition to its existing fleet. Conveniently located in Fgura and Attard, the new machines will be a welcome addition to the ATM services already offered by the two branches. These brand-new machines join two others which were installed during 2020 in Qormi (Pavi) branch and San Gwann branch. Customers can now deposit cash and cheques through the appropriate envelopes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is particularly of benefit to clients who want to avoid queues and want to avail themselves of a swift service without the need to physically go into the branch. The Express Deposit Machines are very easy to use and the deposit transaction can be executed by following the user-friendly on-screen instructions.

Throughout the past year, BNF Bank has made substantial investment in new or to upgrade the customer touchpoints, particularly on the technological front. This investment plan was already in place but was accelerated because of the pandemic as the Bank thrives on delivering services that create value for customers.

George Debono, Chief Commercial Officer at BNF Bank said, “We will continue to invest in our technological platforms and channels to facilitate the interaction with our customers. We want to offer our customers multiple channels that they can use at their convenience for their day-to-day banking in order to further improve our personalised service delivered through our dedicated staff within the branches and corporate teams”.

More information is available on www.bnf.bank/express_depositmachines