“Pursue a career in woodworking, it’s viable and lucrative” – shout out to youngsters

A carpenter who has been working in the business his whole life has appealed to young people to approach woodworking as there is room for growth and potential. In an interview with Television Malta, Leslie Abela Vassallo said that it is not true that a carpenter spends his life working wood but can lead a group of carpenters and guide them in the workplace.

While there are currently 600 carpenters in Malta, another 200 are needed immediately but only three students a year enrol in MCAST courses.

From an early age, Leslie Abela Vassallo had a passion for carpentry. He used to spend hours after school watching his neighbour work wood.

“In the old days children had a chance to run around outside and play. Not today. Everyone is stuck on their phones and playstation and is locked inside.”

His passion for wood continued to grow. He entered the school of crafts and through apprenticeship he began to understand more fully the skills of carpentry. His first job was assembling furniture.

“But then over time as you get the hang of it, you always try to move forward. Then we ended up making doors and doing everything.”

He has now been working in wood for 33 years. Nowadays Leslie runs a local furniture company with a group of carpenters and has not carved wood for years. He had a chance to move forward.

“You have to have the know-how of your skill. A machine will not make you a carpenter.”

Only three students a year are enrolled in the MCAST carpentry course, with the industry having to turn to foreign workers . He appealed to yong people to approach the carpenter’s craft.

“It gives you satisfaction especially when you send the customer who is very happy with the work that you have manufactured and produced .”

As stated by the Deputy President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chris Vassallo Cesareo, the industry is currently crying out for carpenters.

“We have cases. Not one or two. Where what starts as an apprenticeship can develop into a career according to the ambition of the individual.”

It is estimated that there are currently more than 600 woodworkers in Malta.

The Director of the Institute of Engineering at MCAST, Stephen Sammut, said that in the immediate future the sector needs another 200 carpenters.

“I appeal to young people out there to consider applying because the jobs out there are interesting, wages are good and one can say he has a guaranteed job if he finishes the course and learns the craft.”

Engineer Sammut said that even people who do not have any skills can apply for the courses.