Launch and mentor matching

The JA Company Programme, sponsored by Deloitte, has finally got off the ground, after our team spent many weeks canvassing at different schools. Saturday 22nd October marked the day that we held the Company Programme Launch event at FirstBridge in Marsa, attended by around 200 students from Malta, Norway and Sweden.

Mentor, Claire Briffa, overseeing a group of students.
Groups of students sitting at tables, engaged in group activity.

Their enthusiasm was immediately apparent – it was amazing to see so many young people in one place, by their own volition, opening up to business and the world of work, actively seeking out skills for their future success. Some of the students were evidently bright and articulate, showing how important it is to recognise and encourage leadership skills in our youth, to create better leaders for tomorrow.

Students were introduced to the mentors, who will be steering their development over the course of the Company Programme. Witnessing this sort of intergenerational synergy never fails to inspire, especially given that many mentors are JA Alumni themselves, giving back to the community and propagating their success past themselves.

In a session delivered by Deloitte, the students were made aware of the different roles in an organisation, and of the various personality types at play in the workplace. This is important if our youth are to make the most of themselves in any team setting, as well as to cooperate with fellow teammates – interpersonal skills do not have a “best-by” date, rather they improve and mature with use.

Patricia Patti, founder of EcoMarine Malta, delivered a presentation on the benefits of sustainable business, and Dr Marthese Portelli, Malta Chamber CEO, gave a speech outlining key ESG points, the drive for Net Zero, plus the green potential unleashed by innovation.

The SDGs were tackled by the students in an interactive group setting, resulting in a mini-pitch session aimed at solving these issues in the most innovative ways imaginable. This exercise served to strengthen the participants’ collaboration, listening, speaking, presentation and critical thinking skills, not to mention creativity, a resource in rare supply. It also served to raise awareness on sustainability issues, which cannot be ignored any longer, and will be major catalysts in the future global economy – surely not to be missed.

It is worth noting that international cooperation was observed at a micro-level at this event; many of the mentors, as well as the students, come from diverse backgrounds, plus the team from Norway and Sweden added to the mix, showcasing how global cooperation can only be practiced if first experienced at a micro-level. This experience prepared our youth, in no small way, for the global economy.

Mentor Matching

Hot on the heels of our JA Company Programme launch event, we held the Mentor Matching session on Wednesday 26th October, at the MRC Auditorium, MCAST. This Mentor Matching session brought Mentors and students together once again, this time, to, as the name suggests, match mentors up with students, trying to match their expertise to a given team’s needs. The way we achieved this was, we first gave students the chance to make their way round the hall and approach mentors of their choosing, and then we got the mentors to work the room once all the teams had been properly formed. Some teams had already formed business ideas at this point, making it easier to align a mentor’s skill set with a team’s specific skill deficit or needs.

Enthusiastic students engaged in conversation.
Many small groups of seated students in a large hall, interacting with their mentors.

Mentors were then allocated to their respective teams by JA staff, to ensure fairness and impartiality. Transparency and integrity go hand-in-hand and are qualities we are serious about promoting through our Foundation and the programmes we operate.

Key stakeholders outlined the various awards the teams can win at the Awards and Finals night, where teams are awarded based on their performance across key areas, namely Green Entrepreneurship, Best Business Plan, Work Readiness, Quality Excellence, and Digital Marketing, Use of Tech, Internationalisation and Sales Approach. JA veteran of 20 plus years, Emidio Friggieri, was one such attendee, one of our special guests and treasured contributors.