The Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) received 3,322 new applications from prospective students for its vocational and professional courses for the new 2021-22 academic year, a 20 per cent rise compared to last year. 

The number of international students applying for MCAST courses also increased by over 15 per cent and students from 90 countries have joined courses offered by the college’s six institutes and Gozo campus.

Over 560 students used the MCAST career guidance services during the summer months to help decide on their career path. And after a year-and-a-half of online lectures, the college opened its doors to a student population of over 7,000 full-time students. 

This was announced by MCAST principal and CEO Joachim James Calleja during a live-streamed opening ceremony held to welcome staff and students back on campus.

In his message to students, he said: “Over the 20 years since MCAST first opened its doors, around 40,000 students have benefitted from the opportunities offered here. As we move forward, we will keep focusing on preparing students for the world of employment and continue to grow our network of industry partners. We don’t want to lose any students and no one should be excluded. We want to make sure everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. Ours is truly a community college for all.”

Education Minister Justyne Caruana said: “I am delighted to see student activity on campus as we have worked for months to ensure students’ safe return. The college is a key partner for implementing the newly launched employment policy as it sets out to give learners the relevant skills and an entrepreneurial approach. 

“Here students have the chance to progress to different levels of qualifications. I encourage and will continue to support the college’s student-centred approach ensuring that no one is left behind.”

Student Council president Bradley Debono appealed to students to make use of the services offered by the college: “We are finally back at the college together to enjoy campus life which we missed so much over the past year. I invite you to participate fully in campus activities, join student organisations and have your voices heard. Above all, I urge you to make use of the well-being services and to reach out for help when needed.”

The president of the board of governors, Ian Refalo, spoke of the importance of vocational and professional education in preparing tomorrow’s skilled workforce. 

The ceremony closed with an interreligious prayer by representatives of different faiths.

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