(from left) Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo, HSBC Bank Malta CEO Andrew Beane, and Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana with students and officials at the Maria Regina College Dun Manwel Attard Young Adult Education Resource Centre (YAERC) in Wardija
An inspiring personal development programme from Prince’s Trust International, jointly introduced in Malta by HSBC Malta Foundation and the Ministry for Education, is helping a growing number of students aged 13-19 transform their academic experience and success.
The xl/Achieve programme helps young people re-engage and succeed in education. While the xl/Achieve programme has a long-established footprint in the United Kingdom where it is run by The Prince’s Trust, the programme was first piloted in Malta in the 2015/16 scholastic year by sister charity, Prince’s Trust International. Prince’s Trust International a start-up charity working together with organisations around the world to help young people move into education, training or employment. The programme delivery was made possible by a €300,000 grant by HSBC Malta Foundation.
A student explains how the xl/Achieve programme helped him: “I was always getting into trouble at school and was regularly expelled. By Year 9, I was totally disengaged from school. Home was the same struggle. I started attending a school where the Prince’s Trust International xl/Achieve programme was being delivered and, for the first time, I began doing activities for which I was not penalised, such as for spelling mistakes, since I know I could make use of different kinds of evidence to show that I have achieved various skills such as photography, video and verbal evidence, instead of simply written material.”
According to education specialists, the flexibility of the xl/Achieve programme makes it suitable for multiple educational settings as it empowers students to learn vital personal and employability skills, while helping to develop confidence, raise aspirations and improve attitude to learning. Previously, these students would have left the school system for not finding the education system compatible to their needs.
Another student, 14-year-old Sarah*, was introduced to the programme by her school’s Assistant Head last year after a conversation with her parents. The teenager showed interest to follow the programme for the next three years and today credits xl/Achieve for equipping her with skills such as decision-making, presentation-building, and teamwork. *Name changed to protect identity.
“Presently, Sarah also uses the skills she learnt to help other children as a volunteer. She plans to complete the programme so that she can achieve the best award possible,” said a proud Assistant Head Master.
HSBC Bank Malta CEO Andrew Beane said: “HSBC believes that all young people have great potential provided they are afforded the opportunity and support to make the most of their particular talents. The progress students have obtained through the Achieve Programme is inspiring and we are honoured to support them. Their success is also a testament to the fantastic educators who are the true heroes that have made these fantastic results possible.”
As more students begin their transformation and grow in confidence, other schools took notice. At the moment the programme is being delivered in 19 schools and centres across Malta.
The impact of xl/Achieve has been so powerful that it is now being implemented by independent schools as well as the Catholic Education Secretariat. The programme is now also a recognised qualification for entry at vocational schools in Malta.