MCAST graduates include company owners and engineers

From the PolyTechnic to MCAST… 20 years ago MCAST was transformed into a new institution which provides vocational training. 20 years later, MCAST has revealed its new look for the next few years, while launching its course prospectus for the next scholastic year.

What used to be known as the Polytechic was opened in 1970 to equip a whole generation of young people with the knowledge and necessary skills they needed as Malta was about to bid farewell to an economy based on the British services. In 2001, the institute was changed into the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, MCAST, becoming the country’s main institution for vocational training and education.

20 years later, MCAST now offers 500 courses, and 190 different qualifications while serving the needs of around 12,000 students who attend on a full time or part time basis. Since it was set up, around 40,000 students have chosen to study at MCAST.

Mark Camilleri Gambin today manages a company which offers software which is especially designed for the needs of human resources in business. He is a former MCAST student who graduated ten years ago, and described to TVM how he and his two friends set up the company while they were still studying.

“Even back then we had a good enough content for entrepreneurship, apart from the technical training we needed, which I believe cannot be found anywhere else, as well as the skills to set up our own business,” he says.

Elizabeth Boxall, an engineer with Mekkanika, said that her experience as an MCAST apprentice helped her to familiarise herself with the workplace, which made it easier for her to integrate into the working world.

“As women in this sector we are in a minority, but MCAST gave us the tools we needed not only to obtain a degree but the support we needed so that I can achieve my goals despite my gender,” she pointed out.

On its 20th anniversary, MCAST has also launched its new emblem.

The Principal and CEO of MCAST, Prof James Calleja, explained to TVM that the symbols in the emblem refer to the main pillars on which the college is built: creativity, an international vision and innovation. He said that the aim of MCAST will continue to be to work closely with local industry in order for the proper educational programmes to be created for the present and future workplace.

“We want our students to experience the world and what it means to be at the workplace, and therefore we always strive for industry to be our strategic partner.  There are 1,800 industries which are in partnership with us who accept apprentices. This is very important because the workplace also requires on the job training” said Prof. Calleja.

Education Minister Justyne Caruana said that the Government is continuing to offer the support required so that the vocational and professional sector will remain a central focal point in the preparation of students and future employees.