Using education to generate wealth

The National Employment Policy sets out a comprehensive strategy to enhance the quality of jobs and of employees. We will legislate against precarious work and enforce such rules. This

There is a strong relationship between quality of life and employment. Quality of life concepts vary but essential components are related to employment. Creating jobs means generating wealth.

Employment is possibly the biggest challenge that the country will face in the next few years. We have to ensure that our population has the necessary skills to meet the demands of the modern world. By launching a comprehensive employment policy we mean to do just that.

The employment policy aims to identify market frictions that impede the labour market from functioning to its full potential. Besides the economic perspective, we must also address the social aspects of employment. This policy provides a comprehensive set of initiatives and measures that will enhance the concept of making work pay.

We have identified a number of needs necessary for meaningful employment. There are several factors that contribute to a successful job market. Skills, task identity, employee participation, development and job satisfaction are only a few of these factors. Obviously wages, working hours and conditions of work are also important and we will ensure fairness to both employer and employee.

The basis of our employment policy is to provide a skilled and well-prepared workforce that caters for current and future demands. We have several investors prepared to set up shop in Malta. They would offer good employment prospects and we must ensure that youths in Malta and Gozo are skilled and competent in filling these jobs.

Over the past years, there was a surge in the Maltese employment ratio for the 20 – 64 age group. During the first few months of this legislature, we have managed to register an increase in the Maltese workforce. Between March and December of last year, we have generated a total of 3,526 new jobs. Of these, 257 were employed in education, a substantial number of which as Learning Support Assistants. Another 318 persons now work in the Health Department and related services and 914 persons have joined the public sector. More significantly, an additional 2,612 have been newly employed in the private sector.

We have also registered an increase in female labour market participation. This employment policy includes various initiatives promoting more female employment. Unfortunately barriers hindering the active involvement of women exist and we are introducing flexibility measures that would facilitate a higher influx of females into the labour market.

However, despite the rise in the volume of the Maltese workforce, our skills base does not feature well in the EU28 table. This employment policy proposes various initiatives to upgrade the skills of the Maltese workforce that would contribute to more productive jobs. In turn, this would lead to the convergence in the standard of living of Malta with other European states. As such, labour market initiatives are being proposed to diversify and improve our skills base.

The role of youths in the Maltese economy is becoming increasingly important. The Youth Guarantee will address this problem and it will also serve to ensure that we modernise our workforce by bringing in innovative ideas in the workplace. In Malta and Gozo, we have a declining working age population and the new employment policy proposes various initiatives aimed at engaging youths into the labour market.

In line with an ageing population, the recently launched new employment policy also targets older persons. Through various schemes and initiatives, the employment policy aims to extend the number of years spent in employment by older persons. We support active ageing and through this policy document we aim to give a number of benefits to the 45 plus age group.

The employment policy also addresses labour market participation of persons with disability. Measures including co-operatives, supported employment and sheltered employment are being introduced or improved, that they may provide a safe environment to persons with some form of impairment. We believe that everyone can contribute to society.

Various programmes within the employment policy are aimed towards the Gozitan labour market.  The labour market in Gozo needs developing and by introducing several initiatives specifically aimed at improving the workforce in Gozo, we will also contribute substantially to the Gozitan economy.

The National Employment Policy sets out a comprehensive strategy to enhance the quality of jobs and of employees. We will legislate against precarious work and enforce such rules. This policy ensures that labour standards and employment go hand in hand.

Today’s market forces demand quality and this strategy embraces education-focused initiatives and skills-oriented initiatives to ensure that the workforce in Malta and Gozo can meet the requirements for better employment prospects.

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