More MCAST students continue their studies at higher levels

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More MCAST students continue their studies at higher levelsOver 73% of circa 2,000 students who completed MCAST Level 1 to Level 4 courses during the last academic year are continuing their studies at higher levels.

Through a number of certificate presentation ceremonies at its Main Campus in Paola, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is recognising the achievements of students who completed Level 1 to Level 4 MCAST courses during the 2010/2011 academic year.

Prof. Maurice Grech, MCAST Principal and CEO, expressed his satisfaction that 73% of these students chose to further their studies at MCAST rather than seek employment. He explained that it is becoming increasingly difficult for low-skilled persons to find employment, meaning that when students extend their studies to higher levels, they are increasing their chances of securing better-paid jobs, assuring greater job security and facilitating their own mobility.

MCAST said it is working hard to ensure that all prospective students, irrespective of their education level, are provided with numerous opportunities to acquire new skills and post-secondary qualifications. The introduction of the MQF Level 1 and MQF Level 2 Programmes a few years ago helped students who ended compulsory education without the required qualifications to learn the necessary basic skills and proceed to post-secondary education.

In this regard, Prof. Grech welcomed the fact that no less than 92% of the 462 students who completed Level 2 courses last year have continued their studies at Level 3 (Diploma) this year; a huge success which he attributed to MCAST’s dedicated staff. In the meantime, through MCAST’s vocational degree programmes, these students can now read for Bachelor of Arts or Science degrees as well. The College has recently secured substantial EU funds to revise and upgrade all its programmes and introduce new courses, to encourage more students to obtain higher qualifications.

While a few years ago many workers kept the same job until they retired, nowadays studies are showing that the average worker’s career may include five to six different jobs. “Students need to learn how to be flexible, how to keep themselves updated with the latest developments in their fields, and to be open to lifelong learning throughout their lives. By emphasising these values in all our programmes, and by providing more lifelong learning opportunities to all workers, we are helping more and more students achieve the successful careers that they are aspiring for,” Prof. Grech concluded.

The students who are receiving their certificates during this month’s ceremonies completed courses at various levels, including MCAST Introductory Certificates (MQF Level 1), Foundation Certificates (MQF Level 2), and MCAST and BTEC Diplomas and Extended Diplomas (MQF Levels 3 and 4). 64 students completed courses at the Agribusiness Institute, 188 at the Institute of Art & Design, 137 at the Institute of Building and Construction Engineering, 209 at the Institute of Business and Commerce, 515 at the Institute of Community Services, 123 at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, 438 at the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, 21 at the Maritime Institute, 168 at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and 133 at MCAST’s Gozo Centre. Another 13 students completed MCAST’s Pathway to Independent Living Programme.

A few months ago, MCAST held graduation ceremonies for another 512 students who successfully completed their Bachelor’s Degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes during the same year.

Among the students who are receiving certificates for successfully completing courses at the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, there are 277 whose studies were financed through MCAST’s European Social Fund project ESF 1.33, entitled ‘Increasing Student Capacity in ICT in Malta.’ “Through this project, which started in 2009 and will continue until next year, MCAST obtained the necessary resources to provide ICT training to over 2,000 students. This investment will help Malta prepare the technical and professional personnel required to meet the present and future demands of the local ICT industry, MCAST concluded.

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