"Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) should be the central focal point of our future development" said Mr Andre Fenech Malta Chamber’s Head of Policy Development as he was addressing a STEM engagement conference co-organised by the University of Malta, MCAST and MCST.
The conference was organised as joint effort to engage the public and all stakeholders on the importance of STEM for the long-term development of the country. The three organisations are currently drafting a strategy in this regard and this event launched the national debate.
Mr Fenech noted that according to the EU agency CEDEFOP, by 2025, 26% of all jobs will be in Science, Engineering, healthcare, business and teaching. Mr Fenech specified that STEM skills are directly linked with the new segments Malta is managing to attract including Fintech, life science blockchain and distributed ledger technology and Artificial Intelligence amongst others.
Mr Fenech said that Malta was still lagging behind other European peers and required further investment and new pedagogical techniques on how these subjects were taught at a young age. He stressed on the importance of apprenticeships and all forms of work-based learning for all students whilst investing on the lifelong learning and retraining of the current workforce.
"In the short-term, Malta requires to attract the right foreign talent and investment and to incentivise foreign investors to, where and when possible partner with local companies and start-ups or establish a cluster made up of local companies. This would allow for the right knowledge and technology transfer to occur making the local enterprises and the Maltese economy more sustainable in the long-term" Mr Fenech concluded.
Mr Fenech was speaking during a panel discussion which included Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Silvio Schembri, Opposition spokesman Hon. Karl Gouder and Ms Nicole Cini from Jobsplus. The event was further addressed by the University rector, MCAST principal and MCST executive Chairman.