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More investment in education for the creation of better jobs - PM

Dr Gonzi speaking at Villa Arrigo. Video Jason Borg.

A new Nationalist government will continue to invest in education to create more and better jobs for the people, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said this morning.

Speaking during a political activity at Villa Arrigo this morning, Dr Gonzi referred to Eurostat figures on the female participation rate in the labour market, which were confirmed by figures by the National Statistics Office.

He said that while the EU average for women aged 20 to 24 was 46 per cent, Malta’s was 64 per cent. For women aged 25 to 29 it was 66 per cent for the EU and 75 per cent for Malta and for women aged 30 to 35 per cent it was 66 per cent both for Malta and the EU.

Malta started to fall behind when it came to women who were 40 and older. This was because the country’s educational system 30 years ago did not give women the required skills to find a job.

The modern system offered women these skills and the government had invested millions to allow everyone to catch up and upgrade their skills through government schemes, such as evening courses.

He noted that 58 per cent of graduates were women and said the number would increase over the next five years.

Women in employment meant structures such as child care centres needed to be in place.

The Prime Minister said that while it was important to invest in education, it was also important to invest in the creation of new jobs.

Dr Gonzi spoke on family friendly measures and said that the government had given employers an excellent example, introducing flexitime, career breaks, tele-working and reduced hours.

Compared to the EU, Malta had the lowest difference in wages between men and women.

He referred to the Fitch Report which said that the aging population was one of the biggest challenges the country had to face.

Pointing out that he did not need Fitch to say this, Dr Gonzi said that increasing the participation rate in the employment market was one of way of tackling this problem.

The government started tackling the pensions problem seven years ago when the pensionable age was increased and measure were introduced through which younger women and men would get a better pension.

The country, he said, had to come to a point where people worked because they wanted to and not because they had to.

Dr Gonzi referred to an ILO report which said that unemployment among those aged 25 and under was increasing in all countries. This, he said, was not the case for Malta.

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