Many industries have taken a big hit due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the tourism and hospitality industries in particular facing very difficult times.
WhosWho.mt spoke to Nikolai Sammut to see how ICE Malta is helping workers progress in their career despite the challenging environment.
Mr Sammut says that his company, which he co-founded in 2012 along with James Abela and Matthew Sammut, has throughout this crisis empowered local talent to gain the in-demand industry skills which will help them adapt swiftly and progress steadily.
“Whether they are investing their learning journey to upskill and secure their present role or to reskill and look for a new career opportunity,” he says, “our collection of world-recognised courses help talent future-proof their caareer across all industries.”
“That is why, more than ever, they are considered crucial.”
Mr Sammut points to initiatives like the Easy Payment Scheme offered by ICE Malta as a reason for their popularity, especially in these trying times.
“The scheme allows students to design an interest-free payment plan, so that tight finances don’t stop them from investing in their learning journey,” he says, noting that enrolments “have been extremely encouraging”.
He also highlights the recent series of courses fully sponsored by entities like the MTA, Tech.mt and the eSkills Malta Foundation, which reached capacity in under 48 hours.
“This continues to show that talent in Malta recognises the potential and power of world-class learning.”
Asked how ICE Malta is able to maintain its relevance, Mr Sammut credits the focus on industry-designed and accredited courses for its continued success.
He touts the strong links between his company and the wider industry as essential to maintain the supply of skilled human resources. The Industry Advisory Council, made up of experts representing top brands across a wide spectrum of industries, share their insight, expertise and vision of the future, allowing the education provided by ICE Malta to be aligned to the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s economy.
“Anything that lands on our timetable is only there because our Industry Advisory Council has emphasised the importance of that particular skill set and certification.”
“Achieving any one of our world-recognised certifications,” he says, “means that you have become industry-ready and that you have gained the skills aligned to industry demands.”
Regarding the skills gap reported by foreign-owned companies who regularly need to look abroad for highly skilled workers, Mr Sammut acknowledges its existence while pointing to ICE Malta’s alumni success stories as proof that his company is doing its part to address the issue.
“It’s also interesting to note,” he says, “that the majority of top brands trust us to train their teams. The shift to online live has proven to be very popular because it gives companies the opportunity to take advantage of any downtime to train their top talent from the comfort of their preferred space.”
While the enforced shift online took many industries and companies by surprise, inducing a panicked rush to get systems online, ICE Malta had announced 2020 as the target year to offer online live courses back in 2018.
“Saying that it has been a walk in the park would be incorrect, because it hasn’t been so easy, but we revealed two years ago that we intended to move to online learning, so COVID-19 just fast-tracked our plans.”
“Thanks to our hardworking team we have managed to support students to ensure they are comfortable and confident with the online live delivery method.”
ICE Malta also offer a seven-day playback feature, giving students the opportunity to rewatch the lesson an unlimited number of times for a week. Mr Sammut notes that this feature has “proven to be extremely helpful”.
“Our online live delivery mimics the classroom delivery wonderfully and when students cooperate by helping us keep engagement levels high, it’s a great experience for everyone - educators and learners alike.”
Mr Sammut closes by encouraging all, individuals and businesses alike, to invest in their digital education, calling it “the best investment available today”.