The European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA), is a legal autonomous Agency established through the legal notice 128 of 2007. The Agency was formerly a unit within the Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment set up on the 4 May 2000. The aim of the EUPA has always been to support Maltese individuals and entities in availing themselves of funding under the various educational programmes provided by the European Commission. Yet the aim of the Agency is deeper than simply a financial contribution or sponsorship through which projects may be realised. During 2007 and 2013 the EUPA was responsible for the management of the decentralised action of former generations of EU programmes for education including the Youth in Action and Lifelong learning programmes.
The Agency acts as a link between the European Commission and project promoters both at national as well as the local level and promotes as well as manages EU projects of an educational nature, content or objective. The EUPA engages itself in initiatives that are consonant with the educational policies and strategies of the Ministry responsible for education.
For the current programming period (2014- 2020) the European Commission developed the new EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport under the name of Erasmus+. Programme decentralised actions are implemented at national level by a network of National Agencies. In Malta the National Agency responsible for the management of these actions is the European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA).
As a service provider, the EUPA strongly believes in its people. Apart from investing in new competences and skills, the Agency actively promotes teamwork and collegiality. The positive feedback which EUPA members of staff repeatedly receive is testimony to the sterling service which the team collectively provides.
The general objective of the programmes is to contribute towards a holistic development of the community as an advanced knowledge society, with sustainable economic development, more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, while ensuring good protection of the environment for future generations. These aspects can be achieved through both Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action Programmes, which give an important contribution to the acquisition of competences, experiences and knowledge. These programmes are a key instrument in providing a varied range of people coming from different age groups and backgrounds, with opportunities for non-formal and informal learning with a European dimension.
The general objective of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) is to contribute through lifelong learning the development of the Community as an advanced knowledge society, with sustainable economic development, more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, while ensuring good protection of the environment for future generations. In particular, it aims to foster interchange, co-operation and mobility between education and training systems within the community so that they become a world quality reference.
The Youth in Action Programme (YiA) was the EU Programme dedicated towards the field of youth, and was a key instrument in providing young people with opportunities for non-formal and informal learning with a European dimension. The YiA Programme was a programme for all young people aged between 13 and 30 and youth leaders, encouraging the involvement of disadvantaged youth. Complimenting Youth in Action, the Agency hosted also the Euro-med Youth Platform. The Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform created a network of all those involved in the youth sector in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Erasmus+ aims at boosting skills and employability, and modernising Education, Training and Youth work. The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion. The programme through its centralised and decentralised actions shall contribute to the achievement of:
• The objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, including the main education target;
• The objective of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training including the corresponding benchmarks;
• The sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education;
• The overall objectives of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010 – 2018);
• The promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union
Under this new progamme 3 Key Actions are being supported:
The centralised actions are managed at a European level by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) located in Brussels. Further information can be obtained directly from the EACEA website.
The Agency is also responsible for Euroguidance Malta, which is an integral part of adult education. Euroguidance Malta cooperates with existing vocational guidance services both in employment as well as in educational fields. This assistance serves as a platform, focusing its attention mainly on experts and practitioners as well as the public in general in their career pathways, including companies, organisations, citizens, educational advisors, pedagogical institutions and major stakeholders on Lifelong Learning guidance and mobility in the European space.
Eurodesk network provides EU information in the fields of funding, education, training, youth mobility, study, work, volunteering and leisure. The target groups are young people and those working with young people. The network also provides information on financial support for projects/activities involving young people.
Europass is a framework providing transparency of qualifications and competences through a set of documents citizens can use freely. The objectives of the Europass are:
• to help citizens communicate their skills and qualifications effectively when looking for a job or training;
• to help employers understand the skills and qualifications of the workforce;
• to help education and training authorities define and communicate the content of curricula.