Guaranteeing youth employment

We do not just want people who are successful in their examinations but we also want skilled people with character and personality, which also fit the characteristics of the job market.

Education minister Evarist Bartolo and PN counterpart Stephen Spiteri (spokesperson on employment) at a conference on youth unemployment - Photo: Ray Attard
Education minister Evarist Bartolo and PN counterpart Stephen Spiteri (spokesperson on employment) at a conference on youth unemployment - Photo: Ray Attard

Over the past twelve months, we’ve continued to make inroads in reducing youth unemployment. The fact that Malta has among the lowest rates of youth unemployment in the EU is encouraging, but by no means a reason to rest on our laurels.

In Malta there are too many youths who leave compulsory education lacking skills that fit the job market. This is something I have written about in the past but we need to stress this again: the major obstacle for this country is the skills gap, whereby the skills that unemployed individuals have do not match with those roles for which vacancies currently exist.

This is one of the reasons that the education and employment sectors are in the same boat – to ensure that the skills needed by those looking for work match the vacant positions that are being offered in the job market.

The Youth Guarantee is a priority because it tackles the issue of youth unemployment from its early stages, that is the age when they leave compulsory education. It is important that we do not have youths on social benefits from an early age because these run the risk of remaining on social benefits for years ahead, at a cost to their potential and as well as to the taxpayer. Through the Youth Guarantee we are making sure that youths are either directed to education, employment or training.

Statistics show that there is still a section of our youths who, at the age of 16, already seek employment and some do find it. However we must also make sure that they take an informed decision and that they do not sacrifice these important years, usually dedicated to growing their skills portfolio and education. Unfortunately this is frequently the case and by looking at low-skilled jobs, they actually lose any chance of fulfilling their potential.

Another potential downfall of individuals who get into low-skilled jobs soon after ending their compulsory education is that should they lose that job, they would need to start all over again. This is because they would not have gone through the educational or training phase. This can be very challenging and hard to achieve, especially if it happens later on in life and if they’ve got a family to look after.

Through the Youth Guarantee scheme, we are also making sure that those wishing to continue their education but who have failed their examinations are given the necessary help in retrying the exams or in finding different roads which they may feel are more compatible with their interests and skills.

There are great qualities in each and every one of us, none excluded. The reasons these qualities do not always surface vary but we’re working towards structuring the educational opportunities in this country to be wide and different as possible. We do not just want people who are successful in their examinations but we also want skilled people with character and personality, which also fit the characteristics of the job market.

More in Blogs