XL comes to Malta

The qualification of the XL Programme into the MQF will ensure that skills and qualifications young people achieve through the programme are acknowledged

Earlier in November of 2015, Malta, through the Ministry for Education and Employment, became the first country outside of the UK to implement The Prince’s Trust’s renowned XL Programme, at the behest and sponsorship of HSBC Malta. As from this scholastic year 2015/16 seven state secondary schools introduced the XL programme offered by the Prince’s Trust International.

The Prince’s Trust was founded in 1976 by the Prince of Wales with a commitment to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people. Prince’s Trust International has been created to enable the Trust to build on its success in the UK, addressing this demand for advice and expertise from governments and NGOs seeking to tackle youth unemployment around the world and to share its experience and expertise.

Over 100 young people from seven secondary schools and alternative education providers are participating in the XL Programme, which focuses on ‘Personal Development and Employability Skills’. The successful implementation of the XL Programme gives the opportunity to students to acquire different skills and continue with their education progression.

All seven centres recently participated in an internal verification process where teachers received further training as well as feedback on the portfolios that their students produced. This was a fantastic networking opportunity for all those involved and it highlighted the positive approach to the XL Programme by both the students, the XL co-ordinators and the schools.

HSBC is sponsoring the Prince’s Trust XL Programme that is presently being delivered to the seven centres through the commitment of the Ministry of Education and the seven colleges involved. Mr Sherard Cowper-Coles, the HSBC Group head of government affairs, explained that Malta will benefit from a fund set up by the bank to provide support to charities and community projects. HSBC Bank Malta CEO Andrew Beane said that the foundation is extending a €300,000 grant over a three year period and this will help the Ministry for Education implement this programme and support youth in Malta.

The programme has also reached a new milestone whereby the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) has recognised the Prince’s Trust’s XL Programme in Personal Development and Employability at the respective level of the Malta Qualifications Framework. The qualification of the XL Programme into the MQF will ensure that the skills and qualifications young people achieve through the XL programme are acknowledged, recognised and awarded within the Maltese educational context.

Natasha Rushe, Programme Manager – Malta XL Project said: “News of the successfulness of the XL Programme has spread to other schools within Malta, who are keen to learn more and potentially register for delivery in the next academic year.

“With the continued support of funders HSBC Malta and the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) we are optimistic that the XL Programme will be delivered by secondary schools on a national basis,” she added.

In the meantime, post secondary institutions in Malta are currently finalising a memorandum of understanding with MEDE in which they agree to recognise the skills and qualifications achieved by young people completing the XL Programme and qualification.

During the last month HSBC visited four of the seven schools which are presently following the XL programme to extend the support also by means of resources, manpower and staff support to the schools, the teachers and the students.

When in Malta last November, HRH Prince Charles said: “I wanted to pay special tribute, if I may, to HSBC Malta who have made a tremendous commitment; as one of the very caring banks I’ve come across, funding the Prince’s Trust XL Clubs in seven schools. And I have just met some of the young people who have taken part in the project and you can see already the difference it’s made in terms of self confidence, motivation and the boost they have had as a result”.