On 17 October, UM Rector Professor Alfred J. Vella met with representatives of the Chamber of Engineers (CoE). The meeting took place at the University of Malta Msida Campus.
During the meeting representatives from the CoE presented the report entitled Engineering Education in Malta: Paving the Way for Future Industry [PDF]. This report, funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme outlines the reasons observed behind the gradual decline of students opting for engineering career paths, the recommendations prompted by this study and the way forward, which the CoE is adopting. This is a Europe-wide issue and not only one encountered in Malta, as reported by the CoE through their contacts at FEANI, the federation of professional engineers that unites national engineering associations from 33 European Higher Education Area (EHEA) countries.
'UM has been closely observing this issue and has welcomed this research study that can help formulate a strategy to improve the uptake of STEM subjects during early education’ stated Prof. Vella, during the meeting. UM Rector then emphasised that various initiatives that are being carried out by UM to promote STEM, which includes the area of engineering.
Dr Ing. Daniel Micallef, CoE president, said ‘the Chamber of Engineers will be promoting the profession among the younger generations and will continue to strategically address challenges which the profession is facing'.
Dr Ing. Andrew Sammut, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and Prof. Ing. Carl James Debono, Dean of the Faculty of ICT, who were present at the meeting, talked about the initiatives taken up by their respective faculties. These initiatives include technology clubs, outreach programmes with students, educators and guidance teachers, and public relations initiatives to showcase the STEM professions.
At the meeting, the Chamber of Engineers was represented by Dr Ing. Daniel Micallef, CoE President, Ing. Malcolm Zammit, CoE Secretary General, and Dr Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi and Dr Ing. Brian Zammit CoE (Education sub-committee members). Representatives of the CoE stated that the report is one step in the journey ahead and the CoE intends to commission further work to promote the engineer and the engineering profession with the younger and older generations alike, including students, parents and educators.