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First i-hubs Guided Self-Assessment workshop: Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)

UNESCO-UNEVOC kicked off its first workshop aimed at pilot testing the Skills for Innovation Hubs ( i-hubs) framework. This framework was developed to assess the current state of innovation in TVET institutions and draw ideas for future development. The first ever Guided Self-Assessment (GSA) workshop in Europe was successfully completed in cooperation with the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) in Paola, Malta from 10-14 June 2019. MCAST is a UNEVOC Centre and is one of the TVET institutions that agreed to test and co-develop the innovation framework.

The assessment took place over the course of five days and made use of several tools to register and assess evidence of innovation against the College’s performance in the areas of leadership and organizational practices, teaching and learning processes, skills and innovation ecosystem engagement and products and services. Throughout the workshop, the team drew a map of the innovative practice that MCAST would further develop for the project, and identified opportunities for innovation and improvement.

MCAST Principal, Mr. James Calleja, was supported by senior management, staff and students, during the interactive GSA workshop. At the outset, he confirmed that the newly launched Strategic Plan (2019-2021) of MCAST “fits like a glove with the areas of innovation that the i-hubs project proposes to assess”, Mr. Calleja noted that with a low unemployment rate of 3.8%, Malta is facing the challenge of retaining students in education and training. To stem the problem of young people leaving the system for jobs, MCAST’s innovation agenda creates opportunities to provide quality training for its students, to reach out to all sectors of the community, and prepare students for the future of work.

About 30 stakeholders from MCAST, and the private sector, took part in the assessment workshop. The project team, led by Mr. Louis Aquilina, UNEVOC Centre Coordinator and co-facilitator for the workshop, mobilized their participation and sharing of innovative practices.

The workshop also benefitted from support by TKNIKA, a UNEVOC Centre, represented by Ms. Inge Gorostiaga who served as Peer Reviewer. At the end of the activity, the MCAST Principal confirmed that the “i-hub project tool is good to use as a starting point as it confirms if an institution is on the right track.”

The Project’s maiden activity took off with a vision to promote Innovation in TVET. In the project’s context, innovation is a substantial change in the way TVET is delivered and practiced and is evident in the processes, outcomes and practices in the institution. During the workshop, UNESCO-UNEVOC also shared the results of its trends mapping exercise on Innovation in TVET to inform the process and provide guidance through concrete practices and examples.

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The UNESCO-UNEVOC Skills for Innovation Hubs is part of the initiative 'Developing TVET institutions for entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability' implemented by UNESCO since 2017, and is supported by the Beijing Caofeidian International Vocational Education City (BCEC), with contributions from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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