Learning foreign languages at MCAST

Since 2017 MCAST students were given the opportunity to learn foreign languages on a voluntary basis, and for free. So far, over 50 students have studied and successfully completed EQF Level 1 courses in Italian, French, German and Spanish. During the academic year 2019/20 MCAST will be adding the Chinese language to the list.

Kirsten Demanuele, a full-time MCAST student studying Early Years at the Institute of Community Services, shares her experience after successfully completing an EQF Level 1 in Italian as a Foreign Language.

I have always believed that learning foreign languages is very important.  I enjoy travelling to different countries, to meet new people and to communicate with others. When I was at Sacred Heart College, I had decided to choose two foreign languages.  At that time I chose German and French. I achieved  Ordinary level certification in both languages.  I always aspired that someday I would learn Italian too.

I have joined MCAST in 2016 and followed the course MCAST Advanced Level in Children’s Care and Development. I have moved on to MCAST Higher Diploma in Advanced Studies in Early Years. During the last academic year, I have learnt about the opportunity to learn a foreign language additional to my full-time studies and decided to take up the challenge and try to fit the course in my busy schedule.  To me, learning Italian at this stage in my life became even more important for a number of reasons.  Dance is my passion.  I have been dancing since the age of three years.  I attend Mandy’s Dance Academy in Marsascala.  We are exposed to different styles of dance that include ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and other styles.  We are lucky enough to learn different styles and are taught by both local and foreign teachers. I have reached a stage in my life where communicating in Italian became a need in order to be able to communicate with teachers and other students, especially when attending courses.

Over the years at our dance school, we have had sessions delivered by Michele Nocca from Amici and Gianluca Blandi.  I have attended courses both locally and abroad.  While attending the dance lessons and courses I felt that the need to learn Italian in order to be able to communicate with teachers and other students attending the course.  I also felt that I would benefit more from the dance courses if I learnt Italian as I would also understand the instructions and details given by teachers better. 

When I heard about the opportunity at MCAST to follow foreign languages I immediately decided to apply.   Little did I know that this course was going to open a world of opportunities for me. I must admit that the course was professionally run.  Our teacher was very professional and catered for individual needs and attention.  Being a small group made it even better to integrate with each other. Lessons were very interesting and practical.  We covered areas that we need to talk about in our everyday life, including hobbies and areas of interest.

This foreign language course has helped me to pursue my dreams in dance and to be able to attend dance courses both locally and abroad.  I feel more knowledgeable and confident.  I am now more able to follow dance lessons delivered by Italian teachers and to make new Italian friends. It has also increased my employability skills. In Marsascala, the village I live in, the Italian community has increased radically in the past few years. I have noticed an increase in the number of Italian students who attend our dance school.  I have been entrusted by our ballet school principal – Ms Mandy Pellicano to teach a class of young ballerinas and a class of musical theatre.  This summer I am also working with FES at Skolasajf in Marsascala.  Having a basic knowledge of Italian is an asset.  I have Italian students in my class and feel privileged to be able to now communicate with them and especially the parents.

I strongly recommend that other students do like I did … to take up the challenge and study a new foreign language.  Thank you MCAST for this great opportunity.  I am grateful that I have made MCAST my first choice. I value that MCAST has helped me to increase my employability skills and addressed my areas of interest.  I feel that now I am even more able to embark on new opportunities and adventures relating to my passion for dance and to pursue my dream to become a dance teacher. 

 

MCAST investigates the possibility of generating Solar Energy from the Sea

MCAST is leading a major project entitled Offshore Passive Photovoltaics (OPPV), through which the possibility of setting up large scale floating PV systems in Maltese territorial waters was explored.  This project investigates the feasibility of deploying PV systems in the sea in a bid to respond to the ever growing demand for renewable energy supplies.

Solar PV systems require a large footprint, which is scarce in Malta, given that the island only has a total land surface of 316 km2.  PV systems also suffer a reduction in efficiency when the PV panel temperature increases.  Sea water has the potential to mitigate this disadvantage and keep PV panels cooler than those in a comparable ground based PV system, improving PV systems’ efficiency.

In this project MCAST is collaborating with Econetique Ltd, a leading local organisation that deals in renewables, MIRARCO, a research organisation based in Canada, and Malta Mariculture Ltd, which is part of Azzopardi Fisheries, a major player in the Maltese fisheries industry.

The College together, with its partners, was successful in securing substantial funding for the project from the Malta Council for Science and Technology, for and on behalf of the Foundation for Science and Technology, through the FUSION: R&I Technology Development Programme.

Floating PVs on fresh water lakes have been in existence.  MCAST is innovative in exploring the floating PVs on sea water. This in itself presents great challenges in terms of materials that can withstand a harsh environment such as corrosion, marine growth, strong seawater currents, high waves and strong winds. The Maltese coastal waters presented another challenge, that of heavy maritime traffic.

A number of studies were undertaken before the project took off.  These included a market research exercise, a preliminary feasibility study and a patent check. The system itself was designed in house by MCAST staff and took into consideration numerous concepts and designs that were verified through the use of finite element analysis.  The design stage was followed by an international procurement exercise for the sourcing of highly specialised components.  This was combined with the in-house manufacturing of certain components as well as the assembly of the different components to produce the system.

The first pilot 8KW system was deployed at sea in 2018.  The data obtained from this sea-borne system was benchmarked against a land system that was set up close to the sea site at Ċirkewwa.  Data gathered during the pilot phase is being used to design and set up a follow up system that will be deployed at sea later on this year.  It is anticipated that the results will lead to the commercialisation of the system.

 

MCAST welcomes 70 University of Malta Engineering students

On the 1st of July MCAST welcomed the University of Malta’s first year mechanical and electrical engineering students who will be following a specially designed practical engineering technology programme.

This programme runs every summer and generations of engineers fondly remember the time spent at MCAST as an important milestone in their training on the road to becoming professional engineers.

In this year’s programme forty-seven Mechanical Engineering students will be provided with 180 hours of practical training. A further twenty-three electrical engineering students will also be provided with 150 hours of practical training.

The programmes which the students will follow will involve hands-on modules in engine management, mechanical fitting, welding and fabrication, power electronic devices, microcontrollers, electrical technology, electrical installations, programmable logic controllers (PLC), and sheet metal work. These modules are being provided by MCAST’s highly experienced lecturers.

Students were welcomed by the Principal of the College who said that this cooperation between educational institutions augers well for the future. Building synergies between educational institutions is of mutual benefit and students are the main beneficiaries.

 

CPD for VET teachers in not an option anymore

In a statement at the ANESPO Annual Conference in Portugal, MCAST Principal and EfVET President said that one of the dramatic changes brought about by Industry 4.0 is that “continuous professional development for teachers is not an option anymore…the appeal to educate for lifelong learners also applies to teachers, trainers and mentors”.

Professional Calleja was addressing over 220 members at the annual conference of the Portuguese National Association of VET Colleges in Cuba, Portugal. ANESPO is an EfVET member and organisers of the forthcoming EfVET Annual Conference in Portugal in October 2019. MCAST Principal spoke about a Europe of Qualifications: dynamics and challenges. He also chaired a workshop session on education, formation and digital learning. He said that the advancements in technology are changing our lives including the way we learn and the way we support learning in formal education. In Europe, 16m unemployed and 5.5 job vacancies are eating up more than 3.5% of EU’s annual GDP.

This implies that the mismatching between what is being taught in formal education and the world of work must be bridged through a lifelong learning process for both the learner and the teacher. “The speed with which technology is changing is putting new challenges to education and training” Professor Calleja said, “and this implies that continuous professional training for teachers cannot remain an option or an occasional event but a regular feature in their profession”.

The conference organised at the Escola Profissional de Cuba, focused on the theme Education, Formation and New Methodological Paradigms. Among the speakers were former Portuguese Minister of Education Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues, the current State Secretary of the Ministry of Education Joao Costa, Joaquim Bernardo from the Ministry of Finance and the President of ANESPO Jose Luis Presa.

The MCAST Principal also stressed the importance of increasing investment in vocational education and training. “Budgets”, he said “dictate priorities”. Expecting to address the needs of low skilled workers, upskilling and reskilling the workforce requires individuals who can afford training and therefore more resources should be allocated to education and training throughout a person’s working life.

A person’s empowerment should be accompanied by the responsibility to be trained and ready for change. This applies not only to the traditional professions but to all jobs. Industry 4.0 has transformed what a person knows and is able to do to higher levels of skills and competences required. Teachers are expected to always be in an avant-garde position to prepare young people to places of work that are changing rapidly and to those that so far do not exist! “The future of work” Professor Calleja said, “is already here”.

 

MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts Festival 2019

ICA Festival Generic Poster

Dates: Thursday 4th July – Sunday 4th August
Venue: Spazju Kreattiv
Price: Free

MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts launches the ICA Festival: “Distinct” that will run from Thursday 4th July till Sunday 4th August. “Distinct” is a reference to the varied skill-sets students have acquired over the period of their studies including various apprenticeships and work experiences. It was conceived by ICA students whose concept extends to the branding and overall curatorial aesthetic.

The Festival launch will be inaugurated by Hon. Dr Clifton Grima Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations, on Thursday evening, at 6.30pm at Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta, and the festival will thereafter be open to the general public from 8.00pm.

The Festival consists of a month-long exhibition open every day as follows: Monday 9am – 5pm, Tuesday – Friday 9am – 9pm, Saturday – Sunday 10am – 9pm. During the month there will also be a variety of events related to the creative arts, including a number of foreign speakers of international repute. Entrance is free.

The ICA Festival will be working towards bridging the gap between MCAST ICA and the community, resulting in a better understanding of the outcomes of the ICA’s various programmes, and acting as a launch of young practitioners into the working world. The festival will celebrate creativity and act as a platform to showcase the students’ hard work and collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the industry. These acquired skill-sets combined with each student’s personality result in individual differences and diversity that are critical to any organisation’s success in today’s competitive world.

The MCAST ICA Festival started three years ago as an alternative approach to the annual exhibition held at the MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts in Mosta.

The Festival is supported by Arts Council Malta, Spazju Kreattiv, Heritage Malta and Studio 7, amongst other sponsors.

For more information, please visit www.icafestival.com.

 

Scholarships in Saudi Arabia 2019/2020

Scholarships are being offered by the Ministry of Education of Saudi Arabia 2019/2020 (for Maltese Citizens only)  – an initiative enabling several Saudi Universities to offer scholarships for students who achieved outstanding results in Malta. A list of the Saudi Universities involved in these scholarships is attached for ease of reference.

Prospective candidates must contact directly the Saudi Cultural Attaché Office in Rome to retrieve any useful information about the benefits and procedures for obtaining such scholarships. The contact details of the Saudi Cultural Office in Rome are:

Ph: 06-8557173 – 06-8540498

Fax: 06 8842336

E-mail: scitaly@moe.gov.sa

RSA Scholarships 2019 NV 001509

RSA List of universities offering scholarships 2019

The Institute of Engineering and Transport will be holding its annual project expo at the new IET building (Block N) at the MCAST Corradino Campus in Paola.

IET EXPO July 2019

The event will be held on Tuesday, 2nd July between 17:00 – 21:00. The expo will showcase numerous projects from the various departments within the institute including Electrical & Electronics, Aviation, Mechanical, Maritime and Building and Construction.

A number of student projects will be presented from the several engineering fields including automation and control, robotics, biomedical, power electronics, electric drives and machine learning. These projects portray the students’ high technical level with the ability to integrate both theoretical and practical principles. A number of awards will also be presented to the best student projects offered by the institute at EQF Level 4 and 6. The public is invited to attend this event and enjoy the fruition of the studies and hard work of our students and staff.

The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology has become a critical part of Malta’s industrial and economic growth. The college’s main mission is to become a key player in different economic sectors by providing training and promoting research and innovation across various fields. The engineering sector is a priority area within such a framework. The Institute of Engineering and Transport is a flagship within the MCAST structure for implementing this vision.

 

MCAST Principal and EfVET President seeks closer collaboration between VET training providers and the world of employers.

In two separate events held in Brussels and Padua, MCAST Principal/CEO and EfVET President Professor Calleja intensified his plea for more structured and long-term collaboration between VET training providers and employers. Speaking at the European Commission High-Level conference on Skills for Industry Strategy 2030, Professor Calleja said that industry and vocational education and training of the future have to work hand-in-hand not as stakeholders but as permanent partners. Employees and employers are feeling threatened by the speed of change and the advancements in technology. Industry 4.0 is an opportunity to merge the two traditionally separate sectors into a process of work-based learning for a wide spectrum of learners.

Digitalisation, globalisation and demographic changes are having negative as well as positive impacts on VET as well as on work-places. The two contexts cannot operate anymore in isolation from each other. On the contrary, Professor Calleja firmly believes that the two sectors should operate as one with two distinct roles: businesses must ensure that VET environments remain up-to-date in curriculum design, infrastructure, quality assurance and relevancy to new jobs; on the other hand, VET schools, colleges, and Universities have to intensify their role of producing a workforce which is equipped with soft skills, flexibility and the readiness to learn while working and working while learning. The future of work, Professor Calleja said is the future of education and training. “There is only one future for the two sectors and employers and educators should be sitting on the same desk and planning and executing education and training together but in separate contexts: the workplace and the learning home – colleges, schools and higher education institutions.

The High-Level conference had a plethora of distinguished speakers from the world of education and training and the world of businesses with high profile speakers coming from Bosch, IBM Europe, McKinsey and Company, Cisco Systems, the University of Luxembourg, Google, the EIB, AVAESEN Cluster, Le Forem and others. EfVET President insisted that the time is ripe to convene a European summit for VET Providers and Businesses to establish a set of criteria to join the two sectors in permanent statutory roles in different national and regional settings.

At the Archivio Antico, Bo Palace of the University of Padua, MCAST Principal intervened during a panel discussion on the return on investment and mobility. The discussion was part of the concluding session of the ERASMUS project on the ROI for VET International Mobility co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the EU. In his intervention, Professor Calleja said that we live in a culture of mobility both in a physical and virtual manner. As a result of technology, connectivity today is easier, more effective but equally challenging and constructive. Young people have been brought up connecting ideas and interests in a manner which any education and work establishment cannot ignore. Hence mobility has become a valuable learning process according to Professor Calleja.   However, he said “the ultimate objective of mobility in the context of learning and working is employability coupled with social inclusion and a nurturing of European identity. In this respect, cooperation between businesses and training providers as well as the larger community is a step towards creating more opportunities for young people to broaden their experiences”. In an environment in which work-based learning is increasingly becoming a new way of learning, mobility will play an important part in people’s lives. Referring to the new Programme Generation ERASMUS 2021-2027 proposal by the EC, MCAST Principal/CEO said that budgets must reflect priorities.

He feels that there is still a deficit in supporting mobility (and VET in general) when considering the high levels of unemployment in Europe and the high percentages of lamenting employers and people with low skills and others not in E&T. “Mobility” Professor Calleja said, “is a win-win learning process, an opportunity to take in response to the enormous development in traveling, in connecting with different cultures and working places and in the development of quality standards in production and service provision in the various sectors”. Mobility according to the speaker is the most efficient way of producing workforce readiness, soft skills (particularly language speaking) technical skills and entrepreneurial culture. MCAST and EfVET will be at the forefront to connect businesses with VET training providers and promote mobility across all sectors of education and training. The latest introduction of Degree Apprenticeships at MCAST is a case in point.

 

Friday 31 May 2019

MCAST Energy Knowledge Gain in France during the first JUMP2Excel Workshop

MCAST Energy team members participated in a three-day conference organised by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Cadarache, France.  Dr Inġ. Brian Azzopardi, JUMP2Excel Coordinator; Renata Mikalauskiene, Projects Manager (Research); and MRes Candidates and Research Support Assistants Marina Prutianov, George Bugeja and Inġ. Albert Zerafa were among the participants. MCAST Energy is part of the MCAST Institute of Engineering and Transport and collaborates with MCAST Capital Projects Department on energy infrastructure projects.

The JUMP2Excel project participants from Malta, Spain (CENER) and France had the opportunity to meet a strong delegation of the Electricity Syndicate of Martinique Island, representatives from the Energy group at Aix-Marseille University, Aéroport Marseille Provence, Mines ParisTech, EDF-SEI Corsica and the CAPENERGIES competitive cluster.

A number of site visits were also organised to CEA outdoor solar test facilities, MEGASOL Platform 13MWp solar photovoltaic facility, Thassalia marine geothermal power plant facility (ENGIE Group) and Cité des Energies micro algae facility.

The JUMP2Excel: Joint Universal activities for Mediterranean PV integration Excellence project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 810809.

JUMP2Excel activities may be also open to the Maltese research community and the public, free of charge. For further information visit: JUMP2Excel.eu

Tuesday 28 May 2019

MCAST STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN MALTA FASHION WEEK

MFW 26 May 19 St Elmo will be an unforgettable experience for the first cohort of fashion students following MCAST’s Advanced Diploma in Fashion and Retail at the Institute for the Creative Arts.
Mr Adrian J. Mizzi Executive Director, Producer & Founder of MFW honoured our students to present their fashion creations on the prestigious catwalk. Students had the opportunity to showcase the pieces they designed and developed throughout the second year of their course. This incentive motivated students to work to their utmost, as they plan to further their development in the sector through future employment and/or more advanced studies. The audience complimented all the students’ work and their reactions were very positive. The works of Alicia Busuttil, Anthea Calleja, Martha Camilleri, Danial Gitmanovich, Dhalia Grech, Natasha Polidano and Andre Xiberras can be seen in the following link:
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