Malta
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'How useful is having a PhD if you can't work in a team?' - Skills Council chair

Schools and parents should instil in young people transversal skills that will help them to adapt to an ever-changing world instead of prioritising "artificial achievements" such as buying a "swanky watch", according to the National Skills Council chairman Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando.  

Speaking at a conference on the skills that will be needed in the future world of work, organised by the National Skills Council on Thursday, he said listening, communication, teamwork, solving problems independently, and adapting to a changing world are essential transversal skills to instil in young people. 

SkillScape Malta will see stakeholders discuss issues such as the future of education, skills for well-being, and a digital and environmental economic transition. The discussions are in panels and breakout sessions.   

Pullicino Orlando said technical abilities are important, but they are only useful with the necessary transversal skills..  

"How useful is it to have someone with a PhD who cannot communicate or work in a team," he asked.  

The conference comes at a time when the government is preparing a National Strategy for Education, Education Minister Clifton Grima said. Photo: Matthew MirabelliThe conference comes at a time when the government is preparing a National Strategy for Education, Education Minister Clifton Grima said. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Society needs to show the younger generation what really matters in the long term and "instil the right values", Pullicino Orlando added.

"It is society's fault that we try to instil in our younger generations these false values, the desire for these artificial achievements like choosing your first car, buying a flat in a good location, buying the next designer dress or buying a swanky watch," he said.   

The day long conference was opened by Education Minister Clifton Grima.

He said it comes at a time when the government is preparing its National Strategy for Education.  

"We are working so that our educational system overeaches all its aims on basic and transversal skills to provide the necessary tools for students and the power to continue learning, be active citizens and reach their potential.   

"The fact that we are here today to discuss the skill needed for tomorrow's workers and population is a sign that we know that the world is changing," Grima said in his opening speech.  

What was important in the past will not necessarily be relevant in the future, Grima said adding that one had to be proactive.

Grima said that an everchanging job market meant workers needed to continue investing in themselves even after they graduate.   

Former education minister Evarist Bartolo said young people need to develop four "deep skills" and values for the future. 

These were:

  • battling against hopelessness
  • redeveloping long-term planning that goes beyond the electoral cycle
  • living in an increasingly diverse environment, and
  • being ethical.