Vodafone Malta has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry for Education and Employment to establish a framework for cooperation to help equip students in Malta with the knowledge and skills needed for a digital future.
The European Commission has indicated that there is a lack of digital education and skills to fill thousands of vacant future-focused, digital jobs. It estimates that around 500,000 digital jobs across the EU will remain unfilled by 2020.
Simultaneously, some advances in technology, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, are leading to the automation of many categories of jobs, reducing employment opportunities and altering the nature of work.
The MOU establishes mutually beneficial activities which aim to develop digital skills among Maltese youths and help them access learning and employment opportunities that will help them thrive in the digital economy.
Following its successful Code Like a Girl programme earlier this year, where Vodafone offered girls aged between 14 and 18 free training sessions on coding in a bid to give them a taster of the fun and opportunities which come from studying and pursuing a career in technology, Vodafone is now committing to training up to 50 teenage girls a year, including girls from vulnerable social backgrounds.
Both parties believe that a safer digital environment will result in more motivated students and improved school performance. Vodafone is therefore committing to holding two workshops to train guidance teachers in digital life skills for parents, which they may then cascade to parents.
Through the agreement, Vodafone commits to take on 15 students per year as part of the MCAST Apprenticeship Scheme, which allows students to gain practical experience whilst pursuing their studies. Some 50 per cent of past apprentices have already been offered employment at Vodafone and discussions with MCAST are ongoing to include a digital module in all apprenticeship programs.
Vodafone will also be offering various opportunities for work placements to students undergoing courses in Retail, Commerce, Marketing, Enterprise and Technology in order to offer young people access to workplace experiences. These opportunities help expose students to challenging business-critical activities and projects, enabling them to gain relevant business experience to support their studies.
The company will also work with secondary school students by delivering talks to encourage them to take up STEM subjects and offer guidance on the career prospects available to them.
Vodafone will be supporting the Ministry in providing a preparatory service in job readiness for students with autism and help them transition into employment in the IT, Data and Commercial sectors.
In collaboration with the eSkills Malta Foundation, Vodafone will be promoting skills required for future-focused digital and technology jobs.
“Our commitment towards youths is firmly embedded within our Digital Vodafone strategy to connect Malta for a better future,” Vodafone Malta CEO Sonia Hernandez said.
“We believe we are well placed to help young people develop their digital skills and access learning and employment opportunities. Our partnership with the Ministry for Education and Employment cements our commitment and opens up further pathways so that we may support young people to succeed in the digital economy.”
The Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo stressed the importance of matching skills to jobs. "Agreements like this are working on bridging the skills gap, and creating better coordination between the labour market and the education system,” he said.