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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships

Last update: 20 March 2024
On this page
  1. Official guidelines on traineeships and apprenticeships
  2. Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships
  3. Recognition of learning outcomes
  4. Funding
  5. Quality assurance

Official guidelines on traineeships and apprenticeships

Since 2014, Malta's approach to vocational education and training has been clearly structured: Jobsplus has been overseeing traineeships, maintaining its essential role in employment and training programmes. Concurrently, the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) has assumed responsibility for apprenticeships. This strategic division of responsibilities is intended to maximise the efficiency and specificity of vocational training, ensuring that each educational pathway is precisely aligned with the dynamic requirements of Malta's workforce and industry sectors.

Traineeships are offered in accordance with the Employment and Training Services Act, Cap 594. The Act outlines that a participant (trainee) must attend both off-the-job training (formal training provided by Jobsplus or another institution approved by Jobsplus) and on-the-job training (placement with an employer).

When a person enrolls in the Traineeship Scheme, Jobsplus issues an agreement that is signed by the employer, the trainee, and a representative of the Corporation. This agreement outlines the obligations of all parties (including the duration of the traineeship and the facilities and amenities that the employer must provide to safeguard the trainee's health and safety).   

Apprenticeships are managed and coordinated by the Apprenticeships Department at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST).  The work-based Learning and Apprenticeship Act of 2018 superseded the Employment and Training Services Act Cap 343 as the legislative framework to regulate apprenticeships in Malta. The WBL and Apprenticeship Act outlines the rights and responsibilities of all three stakeholders – education provider, student, and employer – in any apprenticeship contract.

During an apprenticeship offered through MCAST, the apprentice benefits from social security coverage as listed in the Apprenticeship Workplace Regulations Agreement. These include:

National Insurance (NI) Contributions: Weekly rate of NI contributions payable by the employer and the apprentice: Under 18 years: 10% of weekly wage up to a maximum of €4.38 (Category E) Over 18 years: 10% of weekly wage up to a maximum of €7.94 (Category F)

Vacation Leave: Upon completion of the observation-probationary period apprentices are entitled to two working days’ vacation leave for every 20 days attendance at the place of work. Pro-rata on the number of hours already worked.

Sick Leave: Upon completion of the observation-probationary period apprentices are entitled to 15 days full and 15 days half pay sick leave pro-rata. Pro-rata on the number of hours already worked.

Statutory Bonuses: Apprentices are entitled to half of the statutory bonuses (€67.55 in June and €67.55 in December). They are also entitled for the half weekly allowance payable every six months ie. €60.58 end of March, €60.58 end of September.

Overtime: Apprentices are eligible to work overtime provided the necessary consent is provided by MCAST, which will ascertain that the extra hours do not badly influence the apprentice's time to rest or study. Overtime rates are those applicable to full-time employees performing the same job. No overtime rate will be worked out on a wage below the National Statutory minimum wage. Overtime applies once the 8 hours on the same day are exceeded or 40 hours per week during Easter / Summer / Christmas recess

Apprenticeships are required for any course offered at MCAST with an apprenticeship as part of its syllabus. Such courses amount to approximately 50 per cent of all courses offered at MCAST. On the other hand, within Jobsplus, traineeships form part of the labour market initiatives aimed at assisting jobseekers in acquiring formal training as well as hands-on training to facilitate their transition from unemployment to employment.

Before launching new traineeships, Jobsplus seeks feedback from different stakeholders to ensure that the traineeships offered meet the labour market's demands. Feedback is also sought from employers regarding the knowledge, skills and competences to be incorporated into the formal training provided by Jobsplus.

Persons who are either unemployed or inactive are eligible to join the Traineeship Scheme offered by Jobsplus. Any student that enrols at MCAST and chooses a course that has an apprenticeship is obliged to follow the apprenticeship.

Traineeships are covered by articles 21 to 25 of the Employment and Training Services Act. Traineeships are offered to those young people participating in the Youth Guarantee and adults registered with the Public Employment Services. As a result of the Youth Guarantee, investment on work exposure and traineeships has been strengthened as they are a very effective means for individuals to enter the labour market following a definite period on-the-job and off-the-job training. The traineeship offered as part of the Youth Guarantee implementation is offered as the last phase, following motivational training and a period of work exposure.

MCAST offers remedial classes to students that were linked to the Youth Guarantee programme, but have now been mainstreamed.

Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships

 i.    Traineeships

Traineeships have become an increasingly important way for young people to gain work experience and enter the labour market. Through the implementation of MT’s Youth Guarantee, Malta boasts of an effective service which is highly personalised and appropriate to the concerned individual through the extensive and effective profiling which is carried out. One of the Youth Guarantee umbrella schemes is the NEETs Activation Scheme II. The NEET Activation Scheme II offers tailor-made interventions to youths facing difficulties affecting their work integration prospects. There are three phases to the scheme. The initial phase is individual profiling of participants. The second phase is a 240 hours work placement either in a simulated or actual work place and the third phase consists of a traineeship whereby participants will be able to put into practice what they have learnt during the previous two phases.   

The Traineeship scheme aims at training individuals to find and retain employment by equipping participants with the initial vocational training (i.e. pre-employment training) to help them obtain the knowledge, skills and competences required by employers. Traineeships are based on a combination of on-the-job and off-the-job training; the programmes offered by Jobsplus are labour market driven, whereby the job preferences of the jobseekers are matched with the requests made by employers participating in the scheme. During the scheme, the trainee must attend 300 hours within a maximum period of 12 weeks, consisting of 282 hours as on-the-job training and 18 hours as off-the-job training. It is important to note that on-the-job training occurs at the employer’s premises while off-the-job training is conducted at Jobsplus training complex. Additionally, participants are paid a training allowance, payable by Jobsplus for every hour attended, which is calculated on the national minimum wage. To monitor the process and ensure that the training provided matches the needs of the labour market, Jobsplus is committed to ensure that regular contact is made with the various employers participating within the traineeship programme. Furthermore, during the Traineeship Scheme Jobsplus’ representatives carry out monitoring visits. The scope of these monitoring visits is to ensure that both employers and youths get the support needed during the scheme. 

As indicated above, the NEET Activation Scheme II offers a portal for those youths who would like to engage in traineeships by means of collaboration and effective partnerships with employers. Jobsplus liaises with these employers in order to build customer relationships and find placements. What is crucial here is an effective line of communication with employers and also with other stakeholders to guarantee assistance which is personalised to individual needs and well-functioning partnerships. Furthermore, the Employer Relations Unit, within Jobsplus, is set to assist employers in all matters pertaining to the entity and offers one-to-one meetings. During these meetings, employers are informed about all relevant Jobsplus services. The unit assists employers in the filling of vacancies online and applications for Jobsplus scheme including the Traineeship scheme. In Addition Jobsplus also participates in different national fairs to promote its services. Apart from social media marketing, from time to time these initiatives are promoted on newspapers, magazines, through radio and television interviews, automailers and employment and career fairs.

The Youth Guarantee Office also undertakes multiple social media promotion and awareness campaigns, using posts and videos. These occur yearly on the Youth Guarantee Malta Facebook and Twitter pages.

Radio, TV, and billboard advertising are used to effectively increase reach. Initiative-specific newsletters are sent to a growing database of education institutions and employers, among others. Information letters and application forms are also sent to registered jobseekers. 

To complement the targeted online approach, the Youth Guarantee Office regularly attends and organises information meetings and conferences, and actively participates in targeted student events and fairs, during which information and custom merchandise are disseminated.  As a result, valuable connections have been established with the schools’ psychosocial teams. The Youth Guarantee Committee has also helped forge collaborative relations with educational and employment professionals, business organisations and other related entities, which are now part of the project’s network.

ii. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) initiatives on Initial VET 

In May 2019, MCAST launched the Strategic Plan 2019-2021 as a means of incentivising a more inclusive, equitable and excellence in vocational provision in Malta. In November 2021, MCAST launched a more ambitious 6 year Strategic Plan until 2027. Both strategies for the College sees vocational education as a driving force behind the quality labour force in Malta by preparing learners to be flexible, specialists in vocational industry areas as required, but also in possession of transversal skills, behavioural skills and appropriate attitudes. 

Through the ESF 02.058 Project : Adding Value: Nurturing Learning Journeys in IVET - MCAST provides flexible teaching approaches, innovative technologies and mentoring to engage vulnerable students and allow them to learn enjoyably. The project identified barriers to training encountered by students, allowing the creation of long-term structures that can provide immediate support to vulnerable students at IVET. The project allowed students to increase their skills and competences, thereby allowing them to become economically independent. This was done through training & support to vulnerable groups. A team of student mentors were engaged to support students on a psycho-social level, helping students to navigate through their learning journey and overcome challenges which are not conducive to learning, the aim being that of students successfully completing study programmes and gaining qualifications either to progress to the next level of studies or to be more employable.

MCAST also worked on gamifying parts of the curriculum and building elements of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) within particular components of study programmes up to MQF Level 3. The aim is to attract and retain young learners in the Education and Training process, and modernise vocational education even at MQF Levels 1-3, so that learning becomes more engaging. Students will become familiar with the process of learning and working through new technologies, thus starting to build the foundations for future labour market needs.

To provide a holistic experience to international VET learners, including migrants, a number of activities through the MCAST outreach and integration offices increased during the last year. MCAST is also providing online sessions and lectures in Maltese, English, and cultural orientation through the I-Belong Programme. Additionally, MCAST organises a Diversity Day with the involvement of international students on a yearly basis.

In the 2019/20 academic year, MCAST launched its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme with the objective of offering MCAST learners the chance to enrich their studies with life-enhancing experiences that contribute to their comprehensive knowledge base. This programme facilitates collaborations between MCAST and non-governmental stakeholders, establishing key partnerships to develop skills, attitudes, and values that benefit society and the environment. Areas of collaboration span entrepreneurship, creative and performing arts, sports, and voluntary work within the cultural sector. The MCAST Corporate Social Responsibility initiative also provides a structure for all college learners to have the knowledge and skills gained through the programme recognised and accredited within their formal study programmes. MCAST is dedicated to empowering its young and adult learners to become active, employable citizens contributing to Malta’s vibrant democratic society and economy. Since its inception, students have undertaken 20 hours of community service with various NGOs as part of their coursework, continually expanding the range of NGOs and organisations (by signing protocols) to offer more students diverse opportunities.

From the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year, 2,177 students registered and were accepted to undertake community work with over 1,000 organisations and initiatives, including:

  • 506 students in the Animal Welfare Sector
  • 34 students in the Art Sector
  • 226 students in the Culture Sector (including religious organisations)
  • 58 students in the Disability Sector
  • 13 students in Disciplinary Corps
  • 235 students in the Education Sector, including 7 students in libraries and 64 students in on-campus initiatives
  • 73 students in the Environment Sector
  • 100 students in Government Agencies
  • 131 students in the Health Sector
  • 48 students in the Humanitarian Sector
  • 160 students in the Local Councils
  • 78 students in the Social Sector
  • 377 in the Sports Sector
  • 137 in the Youth Sector

iii.  Apprenticeships

Regarding apprenticeships, students who enrol at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) can choose from courses that offer apprenticeships according to their preferences, academic achievements, and qualifications. Professional guidance is offered to students on an individual level, and an annual prospectus with all courses and their respective entry requirements, syllabi, and MQF level is issued.

Apprenticeships providers interested in offering apprenticeship opportunities are dealt with on a one-to-one by the Apprenticeships Department at MCAST.

In 2019, MCAST launched a new suite of MQF Level 6 Degree Apprenticeships in Biomedical Engineering, Construction Engineering, Software Development, Multimedia Software Development, Computer Systems and Networks and Fashion. Students following such degree apprenticeships will be able to achieve a recognised qualification while simultaneously getting paid for gaining valuable work experience.

In recent efforts to enhance the apprenticeship experience and foster industry partnerships, MCAST hosted the "Encounter – MCAST Meets the Industry" series, including a conference to discuss the significance of apprenticeships for students, employers, and the local industry. This initiative underscores the importance of apprenticeships in preparing students for the workforce, highlighting the success of MCAST alumni in securing employment within their fields of study immediately after graduating.

The launch of the MCAST Apprenticeship Guidebook is an important milestone. This guidebook provides comprehensive details about apprenticeship opportunities at MCAST. It is designed to offer students and industry partners valuable insights into the apprenticeship process, highlighting the structure, expectations, and benefits of participating in these programs. It aims to streamline the apprenticeship experience, ensuring all parties have clear guidance and understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Starting 2024, the 'MCAST Apprentice Onboarding Event', was held to foster networking opportunities between prospective apprentices and industry partners, with 67 companies participating. This initiative highlighted the college's proactive stance in bridging the skill and talent gap in the labour market, offering over 350 apprenticeships to more than 1,650 eligible students. This approach benefits the economy by preparing students for future careers in various industries and underscores the college's commitment to offering valuable apprenticeship opportunities. MCAST has established partnerships with over 2,200 companies, emphasizing the need for more apprenticeship opportunities to develop a highly skilled workforce and add value to businesses.

iv. Partnerships between education providers and employers

MCAST has remained actively involved in increasing the number of industry partners to enable work-based learning through apprenticeships, internships, and work placements. Around 1,300 employers are registered with MCAST as industry partners in various economic sectors, including engineering, transport, applied sciences, creative arts, community services, business and commerce, agribusiness, and information technology. 300 new employers have been registered with MCAST as industry partners. 

MCAST has launched its 2024/2025 prospectus, introducing 202 full-time courses designed to meet the evolving needs of various industries.

Additionally, there is a drive to involve industry directly in education by employing the students and then offering them the possibility to study while they are employed. Given the high employment rate, this could be more enticing for youths and non-students to continue education. MCAST has just launched the following initiatives with HVAC and aviation employers.

The Maintenance and Repair Organisations (MROs) every year are invited to interview new students who enrol for aviation maintenance courses.  This is done on the request of the MROs themselves so that they recruit the new students and give them a full pay as full-time employees. The students follow the two-year full-time course at MCAST that also includes apprenticeship at the MRO. This system provides the students motivation to do well in their studies knowing that they have job security at the end of their studies. It also shows commitment from the part of MROs who commit themselves to sponsor the students’ training to secure a stream of new recruits into their expanding business. Students will do their apprenticeship at their sponsor’s place of work. 

Recently, the importers of air conditioners have set up an association.  They have contacted MCAST to see how we can cooperate in order to attract more students to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) courses.  MCAST proposed to the association to set up a scheme similar to aviation.  They agreed, and as of this year, they are offering a number of sponsorships to students who take up HVAC courses.  Students in this scheme will get a salary from their sponsor and have also security of employment at the end of the course. Students will do their apprenticeship at their sponsor’s place of work. The association offered 25 sponsorships for students taking MQF level 3 and level 4 courses in HVAC.

The Education and Training Programmes and Learning Support Centre for learning ad Employability within MCAST supports GOV entities in projects that target the upskilling of individuals within industry and/or the community. Working with the Human Rights and Integration Directorate on an AMIF project Sustaining Management of Migration Flows.  Training is offered in Maltese, English and Cultural integration. 

In collaboration with the Ministry for Social Policy and Children’s Rights –  L3 and L4 Awards were designed in Financial Literacy and Benefits Management respectively to upskill employees in Social Services Centres to equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to be able to give better provision to the clients in the community. Moreover, independently, Agency for Community and Therapeutic Services (ACTS) within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) supports clients and communities in acquiring knowledge and skills that could help them manage their personal and household finances more effectively. This occurs during individual sessions and through group work.

v. Other important MCAST initiatives in VET:

During February 2019, MCAST launched the Masters in Vocational Education Applied Research 4.0 which provides its own lecturers with a pedagogical training qualification in VET at Masters level.  The Masters is a three-year qualification of 120 ECTS with three exit points, either after one year with a Post-Graduate Certificate or after the second year with a Post-Graduate Diploma or after the third year, which is the dissertation year, with a Masters.

MCAST also organised during 2019 various continuous professional development (CPD) sessions for its staff members, both for lecturers and administrative staff. Participation in CPD workshops exceeded 300 registrations.

MCAST established an Applied Research Unit which works specifically on vocational and applied research that is carried out either by researchers and professionals or collaborative partners, towards creating innovative knowledge and exploring the feasibility of new or improved technology, products, processes, services or solutions. Research within professional higher education at MCAST will serve to provide new knowledge and addressing real-life problems, a process of learning and translating into new teaching, and a cycle of collaborating and disseminating findings, solutions and new knowledge, skills and competences.

In 2019, MCAST also launched the research framework  which is built on three main important pillars:

  • A focus on key, select research thrusts leading to smart specializations.
  • Creating and working within one or more Knowledge Centre / R&I Ecosystem, Centres for Smart Specialization, and peer learning through international networks such as ASEF, Eurashe and UAS4Europe.
  • Developing and propagating new research, innovation and pedagogical and andragogic methodologies and technologies

During 2019, MCAST also launched a new series of Masters programmes as part of an ESF project – MCAST is offering eight additional Masters Programmes in the following topics: Environmental Engineering, Exercise and Sports Science, Water Resources Management, High-Performance Buildings, Mechatronics, Lean Enterprise, Information Technology and Systems, and Product Design. One of the most important objectives of these programmes is to build a high level of expertise among VET students in vital areas such as water, energy, infrastructures, health innovative design solutions and many more. This will be accompanied through industry-driven impact research.

In 2021, MCAST launched the D Res programme, a Professional Research Doctorate on the Competitive Behaviour of Small Organizations. This EQF/MQF Level 8 qualification has the specific remit of understanding and building applied theories of small organisation competitive behaviour within small island states.

In 2023, MCAST also launched the Master in AI within Industry 4.0. This EQF/MQF Level 7 qualification focuses on key knowledge required for solving business challenges and yielding competitive advantage through the application of AI technologies. It provides theoretical and practical knowledge to work across industries and implement AI where needed.

Recognition of learning outcomes

Trainees participating in traineeships are awarded two certificates: a certificate to cover the theoretical component delivered during the off-the-job training (in this case, if the courses offered are accredited trainees are awarded a certificate pegged between EQF/MQF level 1 to 4 depending on the traineeship) and another certificate to recognize their participation in the on-the-job training (Apprenticeship review Malta).

MCAST offers two year apprenticeship programmes at EQF/MQF Levels 3 and 4, depending on the particular courses (Apprenticeship review Malta).

Trainees participating in a traineeship are requested to fill out a handbook, which must include all the competences acquired throughout their on-the-job training. 

Students following an apprenticeship at MCAST are requested to fill in a vocational competence logbook that needs to be verified by the employer.

The formal qualification provided by Jobsplus is accredited and based on the ECVET system.  On the certificates issued to those who successfully complete the formal training, one can find the EQF/MQF level of the course as well the number of ECVET points.

All apprenticeships offered by MCAST are formally accredited and students obtain ECTS and ECVET credits.


During past years, the funding of traineeships was organized through the European Social Fund. Jobsplus has applied for ESF funding for the programming period 2014-2020.  During this period (2014-2020) the percentage of co-financing was 80% through ESF and 20% through Malta National Funds. Funding was used to cover the training allowance payable to trainees.  Trainees receive a training allowance, which is based on the National Minimum Wage.  The Traineeship scheme was 300 hours over a maximum period of 12 weeks while the trainee can earn a maximum of €1,446.

Employers are entitled to a tax rebate whenever they offer a placement to a trainee for a period of six months as per Legal Notice 179 of 2014. Under this initiative, a tax deduction equivalent to €600 for each work placement shall be allowed provided that such placements are of at least six months in duration.

Apprenticeship providers pay the apprentices’ wages and part of their National Insurance. They are also entitled to a tax rebate whenever they offer a placement to a trainee for a period of six months as per Legal Notice 179 of 2014. By means of such an initiative, a tax deduction equivalent to €600 for each work placement shall be allowed provided that such placements are of at least six months duration.

Quality assurance

Trainees enrolled on traineeship are monitored by Jobsplus.  During the monitoring visits that take place to evaluate the on-the-job training, Jobsplus staff seek feedback from both trainee and employer to gather additional information on their experience throughout the Scheme.

During the off-the-job training, quality visits are performed by the Quality Assurance Unit, whereby the role of the latter is to ensure that the delivery of the off-the-job training is in accordance with the accredited course; the trainer uses different delivery methodologies to meet the needs of all trainees and the tools and facilities used by trainers to deliver the course are in line with standards established by the Corporation.

When it comes to funding the training allowance, trainees are requested to fill out declaration forms that must be endorsed by the employer. These declaration forms are vetted by Jobsplus officials. Trainees are only paid for attended hours, meaning deductions are automatically made before payment is issued.

The Apprenticeship Department at MCAST have developed a Monitoring System where lecturers who are VET experts are monitoring in the industry. This ensures that the people who are actually monitoring the students know both the industry and the competences that the students should be gaining. Once a student is placed in an apprenticeship, they are assigned to a lecturer, and the lecturer completes an online report. The report can be flagged by both the employer and also by the student. Each visit, a report on the particular apprenticeship placement is compiled.  The monitoring lecturers also provide feedback to the apprenticeship provider.