Education and the Employment market
Lufthansa Technik Malta celebrated the commencement of base maintenance services for Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft belonging to its parent company Lufthansa. The first aircraft, an A350-900 is currently undergoing what is called a scheduled C-check at the facility at Luqa Airport. Tuesday we marked Lufthansa Technik Malta’s first services on the A350 aircraft with a ceremony at Hal Farrug.
Malta has thrived hard to diversify its economy and enhance its attractiveness to foreign direct investment. Financial services, iGaming, maritime services, life sciences, high value-added manufacturing, tourism, health, education, technology, construction and creative industries spearheaded wealth and job creation.
The aviation industry has also proven to be a key player in our economy, especially in the past few years, whereby companies like Lufthansa Technik Malta kept on investing and enlarging their operations in our country.
Late last year the signing of an agreement between Lufthansa Technik Malta and Malta Industrial Parks Ltd will see Lufthansa Technik expanding its current facility by building an additional hangar that will be able to service a larger number of wide-bodied and narrow-bodied aircraft simultaneously. Commenting on this, Lufthansa Tecknik Malta CEO Marcus Motschenbacher said that the €25 million investment was instigated by the aviation masterplan of the Maltese Government, seeking growth options for the aviation sector, and provides Lufthansa Technik with the opportunity to consolidate business in one building. Motschenbacher said that the expansion is testament to Lufthansa Technik’s confidence in the local aviation masterplan, as well as the local workforce, and will generate more high-quality jobs.
This company’s success story is due not only to Malta’s geographical position, but also because of a well-established trained workforce which provides companies like Lufthansa Technik Malta with the necessary skilled employees, who do not only possess technical qualities, but also a strong work ethic.
An important part in this link, especially where Lufthansa Technik is concerned, is the collaboration with the Malta College of Arts Science and Technology – MCAST. This collaboration provides for the necessary setup in training students on the job, whilst also guaranteeing exciting career prospects.
Today, this company employs around 650 people, a fifth of which are students and trainees in various stages of their training. Since its inception, Lufthansa Technik Malta, together with MCAST, has already produced and trained more than 500 people across various trades and skills. As a matter of fact, the repair and maintenance workforce within the sector has grown 5% in the last 4 years.
In the past Lufthansa Technik had already spoken of the excellent link with MCAST, saying that MCAST does a lot of the basic training and theoretical training, and when this is accomplished, the students continue with on the job training at Lufthansa Technik. Former CEO Stephen Drewes had said in an interview, that he had found a huge pool of talent in Malta of these young people, also appreciating the work that the University of Malta is doing – specifically saying that the University is graduating a very good breed of engineers who Lufthansa Technik have found to be very applied people.
MCAST plays a pivotal role in partnering with industry and I will make sure that it keeps bolstering its adaptability and speed in meeting industry manpower needs. It is well placed to establish and enhance industry links to establish innovative programmes that are required by the labour market, sustaining its mission statement – to provide universally accessible vocational and professional education and training with an international dimension, responsive to the needs of the individual and the economy.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology’s relationship with industry stimulates the College’s success – its programmes are flexible, relevant and responsive to the aspirations of the students and to the needs of industries that are constantly evolving to meet the challenges of a changing global economy. The College supports small and medium-sized enterprises through a multidisciplinary approach.
We will do our utmost to strengthen the links between academia and industry. This will augment domestic labour market flexibility and smoothen the process of efficiently matching vacancies and job seekers. Vocational training is key to this process. A lot has been done in recent years to strengthen the vocational path from compulsory education level and we must keep building on those positive reforms.
This morning, I will be starting on a series of school visits. I think that this is necessary in my role as Education Minister as I believe that this is vital to see learning in action. These visits will offer a sound opportunity to see at hand the school environment, visit students in their classrooms, and give an ear to teachers and facilitators to get first-hand information about their roles and concerns.
With these visits, I want to pass on a clear message. I want to shorten the physical distance between the ministry’s seat in Floriana and our schools dotted all over the island. This is part of my policy and a priority to listen more, especially to the teachers, LSEs and all other educators. We will be giving an ear to all stakeholders in this sector. We want to bridge the gap – real or apparent – between the experts in Floriana and all the schools and ministry’s entities spread across the islands.
I reiterate that this is an exciting journey. We are going to reach out and make sure that everyone feels part of this positive, collective journey through time which we call education.