Student Placement Programme – Bridging the skills gap
Written by Jason Zammit
For another year, MITA launched the Student Placement Programme on Wednesday 3rd March 2021.
Being a mutual benefit for both students and organisations, the aim of the programme is to bridge the skills gaps both for the supply and demand for ICT skills in the nation’s labour market. During the past four years, 160 employers participated while 1391 students had a workplace experience under the programme.
The Student Placement Programme (SPP) offers tangible benefits where employers are financially supported. In line with the Government’s continuous support during the COVID-19 pandemic, for 2021, MITA will be reimbursing 75% of student salaries to private sector organisations, while employers who operate in the public administration and voluntary sector will be reimbursed 100% of the students’ basic salary.
Besides the financial support, SPP offers students the benefit in progressing into a chosen ICT career. Participating students range from University, MCAST and other Private educational institutions who gain real-life working experience during summer for eleven weeks, set on a thirty-hour working week. The break away from academic lessons during scholastic years brings students into the different world of work providing and developing skills and knowledge which can then be applied to their course of studies. Practical and inter/intrapersonal skills such as time-management, teamwork, responsibility, and communication prepare students for the eventual recruitment stages on Graduation, simultaneously boosting their curriculum vitae and employability.
An organisation also benefits in resource planning. Bringing fresh and innovative ideas, students are very adaptable as they are still in the learning process and are used to overcome challenges regularly due to new assignments and exams. With these advantages in hand, organisations can view students as long-term assets with the possibility of reducing the need of training and cutting down on recruitment costs once they graduate and become permanent employees. By participating and engaging students under the programme, organisational efficiency and productivity increase as current and relevant tasks to their course of studies can be assigned to students; leaving full-time employees able to focus on the more essential tasks. By delegating such an experience, organisations will build and strengthen relationships with students. This programme reaps other benefits since an organisation may overcome challenges in attracting the right applicants especially when competing with other recruiting organisations. SPP helps to identify and ‘lock in’ talent ahead of competition. Other challenges organisations face when recruiting employees is regarding to what extent will ‘newcomers’ fit into the organisation. The organisational fit is another success story under SPP as participating organisations feel more confident when taking up students under the programme since the potential employees will fit easier into the organisational culture based on the experience obtained throughout the placement. It has been noted from our experience, many participating organisations saved precious time on easing new fulltime comers into roles.
We encourage public and private sector organisations together with NGO to participate in the programme and provide placements for students.