EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Malta: ERM comparative analytical report) on Recent Policy Developments related to those Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 06 February 2012



About
Country:
Malta
Author:
Christine Garcia and Anna Borg
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The level of interest with regards to NEETs in Malta can be considered as being moderate. The interest in certain sub-groups, most notably the unemployed and early school leavers, is high. However, other sub-groups, like young single mothers, seem to be largely neglected. Overall measures tend to be generic and usually include NEETs as a sub-group amongst broader groups targeted. Since NEETs are an extremely heterogeneous group, measures should seek to offer more personalised and targeted assistance. The need is also felt for stakeholders and social partners to collaborate more closely on this issue.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the level of interest among the different stakeholders in your country (policy makers, the media, employers and trade unions) in the issue of NEETs? What are their reasons for having a high/ low level of interest in the topic? (Expected length 100 words)

Youths with low qualifications, unemployed youths and early school leavers receive considerable attention from stakeholders. This is because fewer jobs are being created for unskilled workers due to the decrease in manufacturing. On the other hand, sub-groups such as young people from workless families and single parents receive less attention from stakeholders when it comes to NEETs. In the case of young people from workless families, this may be possibly due to their lower prevalence and lower visibility in society. In the case of single parents, these are often in the media because their numbers are increasing and there is concern about their dependability on welfare. However, there is hardly any mention about their education and training needs and the need for special programmes or supporting structures to enable their employability.

1.2 Using the following table, please identify which sub-groups of NEETs are of particular concern to the different stakeholders in your country. Please indicate the relative importance of each group to the different stakeholders; for each group please state whether they are felt to be of ‘significant concern’, ‘some concern’, or ‘no concern’ to the different stakeholders.

Table 1 – NEETs sub-groups
 

Public/media debate

e.g. the extent to which the issue is discussed within the news media

Mainstream Policy

e.g. the range of policy documents tackling the issue, the amount of investment committed to tackling the problem

Employers

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Trade unions

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Young people who are unemployed

Some concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Young people who are in ‘precarious’ or unsuitable employment (e.g. temporary contracts, forced self-employment, part-time work, or jobs which are not commensurate with their level of qualifications)

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

Some concern

Early school leavers – young people who have dropped out of education before obtaining an upper secondary level qualification

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

Some concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Teenage/ single parents

Some concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Migrants and minority groups

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with disabilities

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

No concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Young people with tertiary education who have been unsuccessful in accessing the labour market

No concern

No concern

Some concern

Some concern

1.3 Are there any policy measures in your country targeted at those NEETs with tertiary education? If yes please describe these briefly (expected length 100 words).

No.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

Preventive Measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.1 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to preventing early school leaving. Where does the focus of policies and measures to prevent early school leaving lie?

The idea behind these measures is that if students are engaged in the learning process, the probability of doing better at school is increased, and consequently the probability of dropping out is decreased. A recent change was the removal of streaming and selection at both primary and secondary levels, thereby shifting the focus from a preparatory approach to a developmental one. It is interesting to note that while policies and measures are in general aimed at students and educators, some measures, such as those targeting family literacy, also involve the parents, thereby considering the latter as stakeholders in the educational process.

2.1.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to prevent early school leaving in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: Preventive measures

Early School Leaving: Preventive measures

Name of measure

Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

The Hilti Programme

The Hilti Programme targets family literacy and the activities are characterised by processes through which teachers, children, parents and volunteers engage in collaborative learning efforts. Children realise that learning can be fun and are spurred on by their parents’ active support.

Regional.

Unilateral.

National funds.

No; this targets students still in school but who may be at risk of becoming NEETs.

Yes.

Measure 2:

Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) in the classroom

LSA’s assist in the education of all pupils in class, in particular pupils with special educational needs so that their individual curricular entitlement is ensured and their learning needs are catered for. Together with the class teacher, the LSA develops and implements an Individual Education Programme (IEP) by adapting lesson plans and resources.

National.

Unilateral.

National funds.

No; this targets students with special educational needs who may be at risk of becoming NEETs.

No

Measure 3:

Career Guidance Policy in Schools (October, 2007)

The aim of the Career Guidance Policy in Schools was to review career guidance within the Maltese compulsory education system with the following objectives: (1) Clarify the role of career guidance; (2) Professionalise Career Guidance Services and (3) Provide an adequate career guidance infrastructure.

National

Unilateral

National funds.

No.

No.

2.1.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the preventive early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Let Me Learn (LML) Project

The objectives of this project were various, including: (1) Giving learners the tools to develop strategies to success in learning and (2) Training educators in the LML Process which encourages a multi-level, multi-style, learner oriented learning in the classroom and helps teachers get through to their most hard-to-reach learners.

This measure is on a national scale and is unilateral with two main stakeholders: The University of Malta and the Education Division. The measure is funded through national state funding and run by the public sector. Total budget is not available however it is currently being allocated a line budget of 10,000EUR on a yearly basis.

The project is not NEET specific; the target groups are (1) teachers, (2) pupils and (3) parents on all levels of compulsory and post-compulsory education.

The LML Project was introduced in 1999 and is still running. The first 2 years of the project were considered a pilot, whereas it is now considered a mainstream project.

Qualitative and quantitative studies have been conducted, albeit with a rather small sample of educators. The aim of the research was to collect feedback from the educators regarding the LML Professional Learning Process as well as how this process translates into change in practice. The feedback from these studies has been encouraging and very positive and emphasised the following success factors: (1) an enhanced understanding of how students learn (2) all students are seen as potential learners, (3) enhanced self-esteem since students are not labelled as “under” achievers, (4) students become more independent and progress academically, (5) improvement in class relationships and (6) an enhanced and inclusive atmosphere in class.

Reintegration measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.4 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to the reintegration of early school leavers. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

The focus of reintegration measures lies in the provision of alternative training / teaching environments and methods, as well as adaptation of the curriculum and activities. Such measures tend to offer flexible instead of rigid pathways, and are usually tailored according to the needs of the participants. These measures also tend to be more practical and include elements of non-formal learning, with the aim of fostering a higher level of engagement. Further to this, these measures usually highlight the importance of gaining soft skills as well the importance of developing on both a personal and social level.

2.1.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to reintegrate early school leavers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: reintegration measures

Early School Leaving: Reintegration measures

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

REACH School Drop Outs Project

Aims of the REACH were: (1) To attract back those students who have stopped going to school and risk not finishing their compulsory education, through adapting the structure of curriculum and activities; (2) To reach out to those school drop-outs at risk of unemployment; (3) To help students be better prepared for the world of work and (4) provide support to the youth, their families and teachers at school.

National.

Unilateral with various government stakeholders

European Social Fund (ESF) project part-financed by the European Union (EU).

Yes.

Yes; the project was carried out in an area considered as socially disadvantaged.

Measure 2:

Basic Employment Training (BET) Scheme (ETC)

The objective was to provide basic employment skills to young school leavers who come out of the educational system with few or no skills or academic qualifications. Delivery of material was through alternative training methods.

National

Unilateral

National funds.

Yes.

No.

No.

Measure 3:

Student Maintenance Grants (Government)

In addition to government offering free education in state run institutions, all students (irrespective of their socio-economic status), who are following full-time day courses at post-secondary and upper secondary level, as well as at the University of Malta, are eligible for Maintenance Grants:

National.

Unilateral.

National funds.

No.

No.

No.

2.1.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the reintegration early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Youth Programme – Youth.inc

The Youth.inc programme offers a flexible pathway to further education by putting together a programme of study and vocational training. It gives a second chance opportunity to early school leavers, drop outs and other vulnerable groups. The scale of the measure is national. The measure is unilateral and has various government stakeholders. This measure, which is run by the public sector, is funded via national funds. Allocated budget is N/A.

The measure is NEET specific and a large number of participants come from a disadvantaged background. The target group comprises of early school leavers between the ages of 16 and 21 years and who have not progressed to further education and training, in particular those who are considered as “vulnerable”, including youth who have physical disabilities and mental health problems. The initiative, which is a pilot project, was introduced in July 2010; however the training programme started in January, 2011 and is expected to run for 2 – 3 years. This government vocational programme was developed so as to assist early school leavers in gaining useful work skills away from the traditional classroom. The study programme consists of a number of accredited short courses, placements and non-formal learning activities.

One of the success factors is the participation rate of young people, who enrolled on a voluntary basis in this programme, as well as the absenteeism rate which is relatively low. Since the project is still in its early stages, to date there is no formal evidence of its success.

2.2 Measures to facilitate access to employment

Facilitating the transition from school to work

2.2.1 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to facilitating school to work transitions. Where does the focus of policies and measures to facilitate transitions lie?

The issue of facilitating school to work transitions is usually targeted via the following mechanisms: (1) providing work exposure and experience to young people, with the assistance and collaboration of employers; (2) providing increased access to career and employment related information and (3) providing career guidance and employment advisory services, such as job brokerage. The focus generally lies in assisting students / job seekers in gaining skills needed for employment, with a particular emphasis on soft skills and transferable skills.

2.2.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to facilitate school to work transitions in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 4 - Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions

Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Youth Start Initiative (ETC)

Directed at new entrants to the labour market and aims to provide early intervention to facilitate young people’s movement into the labour market as soon as possible and to ensure they do not become long-term unemployed.

National

Unilateral

National funds; however some elements of the programme are co-funded by the ESF

No.

No.

No.

Measure 2:

Job Experience Scheme (ETC)

The JES provides an opportunity for labour market entrants aged 16 and over with no work experience or limited work experience in their chosen job preferences. The aim is for the participant to gain experience and to prevent long-term unemployment.

National

Bilateral (ETC and Employers)

ESF co-funded.

No.

No.

No; however target groups included those considered as disadvantaged in the labour market such as registered disabled persons.

Measure 3:

Job Shadowing Exposure Scheme (Education Department)

This measure involves students being placed with an employee at a particular workplace. The aim is for the student to (2) follow the work of the employee for a week, (2) has the opportunity to ask questions about the work, and (3) attends an interviewing skills session to serve as preparation for future job seeking.

National

Bilateral (Education Department and Employers)

National funds

No.

No.

No.

2.2.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the school-to-work transition measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Youth Employment Programme (YEP)

The YEP is designed to increase the chances for young people in finding work and promotes an equal and inclusive integration in the labour market. The aims are various and include:

  • Equipping youth with the motivation and skills needed to enter the labour market and retain work.
  • Assisting youth in developing an action plan which would include initiatives to pursue education and training.

The scale of the measure is national and the measure is unilateral. The measure is ESF co-funded and the allocated budget is €822,422.09.

It is not NEET specific however NEETs are one of the main target groups. The YEP is not specifically targeted at youth from a disadvantaged background however those who are vulnerable and socially excluded are included in the target groups.

This measure, which is considered a pilot project, was introduced in September 2009 and will run up to December 2011. It was introduced following the launch of the Youth Employment Strategy 2008 / 2009 by the ETC. It was developed with the intention of increasing the employability and labour market integration of youth, particularly disadvantaged young job seekers as well as those in precarious work. The measure is administered by the ETC, Malta’s PES.

The YEP targets youth (16yrs - 24 yrs) who:

  • Have just finished school, 6th form or University
  • Are following a course
  • Unemployed
  • Employed
  • Feel vulnerable and socially excluded

The YEP is comprised of the following activities:

  • Services from a multi-disciplinary team including Career Guidance Practitioner, Psychologist, Occupational Therapist and Youth Workers.
  • Website
  • TV programme
  • Youth Days

Till December 2010, the total number of young persons who benefitted from this initiative amounted to 2, 317.

The success factors of the project are the services provided by the multi-disciplinary team, who work together to provide a personalised service. Since the project is ongoing, there is no formal evidence of its success.

Measures to foster employability

2.2.4 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to fostering employability among NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

The focus of such measures is directed at training and lifelong learning via: (1) Formal learning mechanisms, such as within the apprenticeship system, via traineeships and short courses, as well as (2) Informal learning mechanisms, such as involvement in voluntary work. Formal learning mechanisms are more widespread as a measure. It is salient to point out that these types of measures are general measures which include NEETs as a target group, rather than being measures which are specifically targeted at NEETs.

2.2.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to foster employability of NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 5 - Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships)

Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships).

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships help the apprentice become more employable. This system also facilitates the transition from school to the labour market. The apprenticeship system helps in fostering employability by helping the student acquire all the relevant knowledge, skills, competencies and attitude needed for the chosen occupation.

National

Tripartite (Government Educational Institutions, the ETC and Employers)

National funds (Employers also contribute to a part of the remuneration given to the apprentice).

No.

No.

No.

Measure 2:

Motivation Seminar (ETC)

Catering for long-term unemployed youth, these seminars (1) increase young people’s self-esteem and confidence, which typically deteriorates throughout the job seeking period; and (2) increase motivation and combat difficulties which the participants face while job searching.

National

Unilateral

National funds

No; however since the participants are long-term unemployed, a good number of them are NEETs.

No

No, however being long-term unemployed, the participants tend to come from a disadvantaged background.

Measure 3:

Active Youth Scheme (ETC)

The aims of this measure was to help youth discover and develop their qualities and at the same time contribute to the community by working with NGO’s for up to six months.

National

Bilateral (ETC and NGO’s)

National funds

No; however since the participants are long-term unemployed, a good number of them are NEETs.

No

No, however being long-term unemployed, the participants tend to come from a disadvantaged background.

2.2.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country to foster the employability of NEETs (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Short Courses / Training Programmes (part of the I CAN Employability Programme, ETC)

The objective of the Employability Programme (EP) is to reintegrate registered unemployed or inactive individuals (youth and adults) into the labour market through facilitating access to training programmes with the aim of acquiring new skills. It also offers employed individuals the opportunity to further their existing skills.

The scale of the measure is national and unilateral. The EP is co-funded by the ESF and the total amount allocated is 5.25 million EUR.

The measure is not NEET specific and neither is it specific to disadvantaged groups. The target groups are the inactive, the registered unemployed individuals eligible to work, as well as the actively employed.

The measure was started in April / May 2009 and is expected to run till 2012. It was introduced to facilitate integration into the labour market and as a mechanism to increase employability. It is run by the ETC (Malta’s PES); therefore it is a public initiative.

The EP is made up of various elements, including the short courses / training programmes which are free of charge. (The other elements are the Training Subsidy Scheme and Traineeships). As of December 2010, the number of young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 years who participated in short courses amounted to 3487.

Success factors of the EP are mainly the doubling of output in terms of people trained. Female trainees increased by more than 200% and 31% of trainees are already in employment (these figures include youth and adults). Due to ESF funding, the ETC was able to offer its courses free of charge to anyone (within working age) regardless of thier employment status. These include courses which lead to internationally recognised qualifications like the ECDL, Advanced ECDL, Sage and City and Guilds. With ESF funding, a new training block was built, increasing the number of rooms available for training and thus increasing the number of courses organised. ETC increased its outreach as courses were held in local councils, regional premises and various workplaces making it easier for participants to follow training.

Participants’ data shows that out of the 3487 young adults taking part in short courses, 2941 completed the training course.

Removing practical and logistical barriers

2.2.7 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to removing practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

These types of measures vary widely in terms of the methods used, since they address a wide range of practical and logistical barriers, such as those pertaining to language barriers. Although the measures do not specifically target NEETs or young people, the focus tends to be rather specific in that it targets particular sub-groups of vulnerable individuals, such as immigrants and persons with a disability. Therefore, the approach on the whole tends to be personalised. However it should be noted that very few measures to combat these barriers are in place, especially those targeted to for “teenage / single parents” and “migrants and minority groups”.

2.2.8 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 6 - Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers

Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Childcare Subsidy Scheme (ETC)

ETC offered a subsidy of EUR 1.50/hr on childcare services availed of by individuals during the period of training offered by the Corporation.

National

Unilateral

National funds

General Measure

No

No

Measure 2:

Language Courses for Immigrants (ETC)

The aim of these training programmes, in particular language courses, aim to help integrate foreigners in the local society and labour market.

National

Unilateral

ESF co-funded

General measure

No

No; the measure is targeted at immigrants however these courses are open to all those aged 16 years and over.

Measure 3:

Pathway to Independent Living Programme (MCAST)

The Pathway to Independent Living Programme is provided for students with mild to moderate disabilities / learning difficulties. The objective is to support students acquire the skills required to gain and maintain employment.

National.

Unilateral.

National funds.

General measure.

No.

Yes.

Employer incentives

2.2.9 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to incentivising employers to recruit young people (who are NEET). Where does the focus of policies and measures to incentivise employers lie?

The focus of these measures, which are general measures aimed at different target groups considered to be “vulnerable” and “at risk” (including NEETs), is mainly directed at providing subsidies to employers. The provision of these subsidies acts as an incentive to employ those who are considered to be at a disadvantage and who, would otherwise find it difficult to enter the labour market and to remain in employment. Via the provision of these subsidies, the aim is to enhance the employability of these vulnerable groups.

2.2.10 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to incentivise employers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 7 - Access to employment: Employer incentives

Access to employment: Employer incentives

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Work Trial Scheme (WTS) – ETC

The WTS aims to offer a work exposure period for the participant to gain work experience. The ETC grants the participant 50% of the national minimum wage per week for the duration of the scheme.

National

Bilateral (PES and Employers)

National funds

General measure

No; however Graduates are included in the various target groups.

No.

Measure 2:

Training Aid Framework (TAF) – ETC

The TAF gives local companies the opportunity to receive financial support for investing in their human resources.

National

Unilateral

ESF co-funded

General measure

No; although it does cater for graduates interested in pursuing post-graduate training.

No

Measure 3:

Bridging the Gap - ETC

The Bridging the Gap is a work-exposure scheme is designed to support a trainee (considered as disadvantaged in the labour market) in the transition from unemployment to employment. The objective is that the trainee gains the workplace skills required by employers and consequently has increased access to employment opportunities.

National

Bilateral (PES and Employers)

National funds

General measure

No

Yes; target groups include (1) Registered Disabled Persons; (2) Former substance abusers; (3) Former offenders; (4) Correctional Facility Inmates on leave and (5) Other vulnerable groups.

2.2.11 Please provide a more detailed description of the employer incentive which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Employment Aid Programme (EAP) – ETC

The EAP facilitates the employment of disadvantaged and disabled persons in the labour market by offering wage subsidies to employers when employing these clients. Hence the objectives include:

  • Enhancing the employability and productivity of vulnerable groups with low employment rates
  • Facilitating access to employment to those furthest away from the labour market.

The scale of the measure is national. The measure is bipartite and it is co-funded by the ESF, the Maltese Government and the Employer. The total funds allocated amount to 8,200,000 EUR in subsidies towards beneficiaries. The EAP provides employers with a wage subsidy when employing persons who fall within the designated target groups.

This is not a NEET specific measure. It is specifically targeted to persons deemed as being at a disadvantage, and this includes various target groups, including NEETs, long-term unemployed and registered disabled persons.

The EAP, which is a mainstream project, was introduced to help the integration of disadvantaged persons in the labour market, to facilitate access to employment and to assist in the upgrading of the skills of those furthest away from the labour market. The EAP, which is administered by the ETC, Malta’s PES, was launched on the 20th February, 2009 and will run till 2013.

1016 young people under age 30 have benefitted from the EAP (as at 24/06/2011).

Statistics show that 94% of EAP participants were retained in employment after their participation in the Scheme. With regards to formal evidence of success, the EAP has already contracted over 1660 grants through the scheme adding up to a total of 7,895,217.359 EUR in subsidy (as at 24/06/2011).

3. Conclusion

In general, there seems to be a degree of concern regarding the issue of NEETs amongst the different stakeholders; however, this concern is mostly directed at certain specific target groups, most notably those who are unemployed and currently seeking employment, as well as early school leavers who generally have limited skills. At the centre of this concern lies the issue of skills mismatch in the labour market. Due to restructuring which has led to the decline in the manufacturing sector, there are fewer jobs for unskilled individuals. Hence a national HR policy should be developed and implemented to ensure that the supply of skills matches the jobs being created. This is even more important in an age where demographic changes, most notably an increase in the ageing population, will have long-term effects on Malta’s economy. In addition to this, certain sub-groups of NEETs, such as migrants and single parents, unfortunately tend to be perceived as a burden (most notably from the aspect of social services). With specific measures aimed at these sub-groups, they could be given the opportunity to work and rather than being perceived as a burden they will be seen as a resource.

From the initiatives documented above, it can be noticed that these tend to have a general focus and are directed to a number of target groups under the umbrella label of “disadvantaged individuals” or “vulnerable groups”. It cannot be ignored that each sub-group indeed has different needs, and these differences should be taken into consideration in order to develop a more tailored and personalised service. A particular sub-group, which are those who are termed “inactive”, presents a particular problem, since this sub-group of young adults is extremely difficult to reach. More effort is needed to identify young adults belonging to this sub-group and consequently to develop initiatives which are tailor-made according to their needs.

The impact of EU level action has most certainly been positive. As can be seen from the initiatives documented, a substantial amount of these measures have been co-funded through ESF funds. . In addition to this, since Malta is committed to reach certain targets to be in line with EU policies, such targets exert pressure which facilitates and boosts the development and implementation of new measures.

With regards to recommendations, there should be more coordination between employment and education strategies. It has been documented that employers perceive young employees as lacking in certain soft skills (Gatt & Gatt, 2006). Schools are still detached from the world of work, and for the school-to- work transition to be smoother and hence more successful, different stakeholders, including employers, educators, parents and others bodies, should collaborate more closely together. On a last note, the importance of professional career guidance services was highlighted by most of the stakeholders.

Interviews conducted with:

  • Mr. Jason Deguara - Section Secretary - General Workers Union (GWU)
  • Mr. Nicholas Baldacchino – Secretary, Manufacturing, IT and Private Sector Section / President, UHM Youths - Union Haddiema Maghqudin (UHM)
  • Mr. Joseph Farrugia - Director - Malta Employers Association (MEA)
  • Mr. Colin Calleja - Let Me Learn Malta and European Coordinator - the University of Malta)
  • Ms. Joyce Mifsud - Senior Executive - Youth.inc, Foundation for Educational Services (FES)

Christine Garcia and Anna Borg, Centre for Labour Studies

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