Muscat’s guarantee of education and working opportunities for youths

Leader Joseph Muscat proposes that government helps early school leavers to identify their area of expertise if after six months they remain unemployed.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat during a round-table conference, discussing the 'Youth Guarantee - education, training and work' initiative.
Labour leader Joseph Muscat during a round-table conference, discussing the 'Youth Guarantee - education, training and work' initiative.

Replying to questions posed by 12 cross-party youth unions and organisations over his Youth Guarantee proposal, Labour leader Joseph Muscat "guaranteed" youths that a Labour government would embark on a strategy that will help early-school leavers find a "qualitative job".

The roundtable conference, held at the PL's headquarters, coincided with the launch of the 'Your future is my future - a European Youth Guarantee now!' by the Party of European Socialists in Brussels today.

Muscat's Youth Guarantee - as explained to MaltaToday after the conference - would see government helping early school leavers to identify their area of expertise through measures such as internships, job shadowing - a programme to find out what it is like to be in a specific profession - and apprenticeship.

"While we would be encouraging youths to join this programme, it will not be obligatory. While the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) would be the backbone of this project, we are also looking into the possibility of providing incentives through a public-private partnership scheme," Muscat said, adding that NGOs would also be on board.

Addressing the representatives of the PN-PL-AD-leaning students and youth organisations, Muscat said that while political parties might not see eye to eye on several issues, yet education and work should not be matters of political controversy.

"The European Youth Guarantee will soon explode across Europe and I hope that Malta - under any government - will be the ambassador of this guarantee," he said, adding it is his wish that more youths continue with their studies after reaching the age of 16.

Muscat said that in Malta, almost four out of every 10 students are early school leavers and insists that this is also the result of poverty.

"As Labour, we propose that through incentives, these young people are motivated to train. On the other hand, it is not only a question of finding a job, but of building a career out of that job. While we have young people who already have successful careers and are employed in high-earning jobs, yet there are others who employed in precariousness."

Muscat added that the Maltese society should not be only representative of "aspiration" but also of "compassion" by believing that everyone has the right not to fall behind.

Replying to a comment raised by a representative of the youth movement of the Nationalist Party - who asked how Labour could be credible on its proposals when Labour MEP Edward Scicluna has already described stipends as unsustainable - Muscat said that stipends under a Labour government "are guaranteed".

"I am saying this out of conviction and not out of convenience: I know the difference stipends make to a student's life."

Speaking on the hardships faced by Gozitan students, Muscat said the first thing a Labour government would do is to allow Gozitan students to take their exams at Gozo rather than come down to Malta to sit for university exams.

Highlighting the need to increase female employment in high-ranking positions, Muscat said women shouldn't be in a position where they'd have to choose between a successful career or to be a mother.

Asked by a representative of the GWU youth section how would a Labour government help students find a job, when all employers would be asking for experience, Muscat said this is where internships and training come in.

This must have been very positive for the PL as TimesofMalta have not mentioned it