I am a Senior Executive at the Malta Business Bureau, which is the EU Advisory Office of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. Since 2015, I have managed multiple EU-funded projects and events largely linked to education and skills development. My frequent participation in workshops and training courses has allowed me to work in multicultural settings and develop a strong interest in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2017, I graduated with a Master’s Degree in European Politics, Economics and Law from the University of Malta.
In 2017 I was approached by the Directorate for Lifelong Learning within the Maltese Ministry for Education and Employment (which serves as Malta’s National Support Service for EPALE) to promote an ongoing EU-funded project with adult learners in Malta and beyond. Since then, I have used the platform for information/examples of best practices linked to adult education. Towards the end of 2019, I was appointed as one of the national EPALE Ambassadors for Malta.
By now, we have heard a lot about the global COVID-19 pandemic and about the profound impact that it has had on the world of work as we know it, as well as on our mental and physical well-being. Each and every one of us has sought to cope and adapt to a radically new lifestyle. Whilst it has been a smooth ride for some, others may have felt largely unprepared for it.
Social scientists are now being prompted to look into the long term-effects of this ‘forced global experiment’.
Back in September 2019, the Malta Business Bureau, in collaboration with the HSBC Malta Foundation, launched a project, INVEST+, to improve levels of financial literacy in Malta, through a series of mentoring sessions and workshops on finance, accounting, savings and investment. Back then, INVEST+’s main goal was to follow-up on a past EU-funded project that had successfully developed a free financial literacy online toolkit, accessible to the public via: http://www.investproject.eu/.
The plan was for INVEST+ to ensure that the financial content which was collected and developed in this past project reached as many people as possible, through an interactive educational and mentoring programme. Thanks to the contribution, commitment and support of a number of knowledgeable and experienced HSBC employees, such mentoring was successfully carried out between October 2019 and February 2020.
In March 2020 – given that we could no longer hold mentoring sessions or workshops in person – the INVEST+ team got together (virtually!) to re-think the project’s work programme. We felt that it was our duty to push for a revision of the programme and adapt the sessions to target current needs more exclusively, whilst complying with the restrictions that were imposed on the country to combat the pandemic. The safety and well-being of all mentors and participants remained a top priority.
However, we also recognised that COVID-19 was going to have lasting effects on the economy, which rendered the spread of sound financial knowledge even more crucial, enabling individuals to better manage their personal and professional finances.
Consequently, we issued a survey to listen to the needs and wishes of the public and were encouraged to receive A LOT of positive feedback. The vast majority of respondents expressed a keen demand for more financial guidance and confirmed that they would be happy to attend online mentoring sessions/thematic workshops should these be organised from our end. As a result, the INVEST+ team piloted its first online thematic workshop some days ago, focusing exclusively on the economic impact of COVID-19.
Rather than viewing this pandemic as a dead-end to our work, we are therefore perceiving this as an opportunity to further digitalise our initiatives, whilst making sure that this is in line with the needs and demands of our target audiences.
For more information on the INVEST+ project and its mentoring sessions/workshops please visit: https://mbb.org.mt/category/projects/ongoing/invest-ongoing/
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