This year brought with it a mixture of optimism and challenges for Vassallo Group. However, despite facing both pre-pandemic and new hurdles, the prevailing sentiment is undeniably positive. According to Group CEO Pio Vassallo, one challenge that persisted throughout this year is the recruitment of new personnel. “Finding the right people to join the CareMalta team, in particular, has proven to be an ongoing challenge. However, this issue is one of very few clouds in an otherwise bright year,” he says. In fact, 2023 marked a significant expansion for CareMalta, as it ventured into Gozo for the first time, with Dar San Gużepp. “We aim to create one of the finest care homes in the Maltese islands, complete with breathtaking views. The response from the local community has been exceptionally positive, and we are looking to employ several people from Gozo,” he states. 

“This project had its own obstacles to be surmounted, but it is now set to open by early 2024. This is a very high-end project, and I am very excited about it.” In a major victory for CareMalta, it also secured the services of Zammit Clapp for another four years. This success was, however, tinged by the closure of the Bormla home; a reminder that not everything in the healthcare sector is without its challenges. Despite the hurdles, CareMalta remained committed to its mission of leaving a positive impact on society. The opening of Santa Rosa in Mosta, catering to the disability sector, aligns perfectly with their vision.

Projects such as these have increased the demand for new skills and personnel within the organisation, prompting a search for individuals eager to make a difference. To address the dearth of staff in the healthcare sector, CareMalta has turned to Learning Works, the Group’s educational arm, which offers courses in nursing and health-related fields, as well as other areas. One of Vassallo Group’s most significant projects is the Mediterranean College of Sport, set to welcome new students by next year.

The collaboration with the Jesuits and St Aloysius College is already bearing fruit, with students utilising facilities such as the North Pavilion. The project’s next phases include the opening of a gym and a swimming pool complex. “Our primary areas of focus include specialised training in football, athletics, water polo, and swimming. Enrollment for the upcoming academic year commencing in September 2024 is now in progress. We have received exceptionally positive feedback from both prospective students and employers alike,” he says. The institution will welcome both Maltese students and international learners, providing educational opportunities from form one through to sixth form.

Partnerships have always been pivotal to Vassallo Group’s success. Collaborations with the government and organisations, such as the ALS Foundation, have significantly contributed to the Group’s growth. For instance, the Vassallo Business Park project, in partnership with Dennis and Jesmond Vassallo of J & D Enterprises, has evolved over five years and is now almost fully sold out. Collaborations such as these highlight the Group’s commitment to engaging with others to achieve their goals. The tourism sector has also experienced a resurgence, with 2023 seeing a return to pre-pandemic levels. The achievement of all targets for the year bodes well for the future. However, challenges related to the national airline may pose uncertainties. The Group’s largest investment, Campus Hub, enjoyed an exceptional year, witnessing growth in both accommodation and public facilities, such as the Pjazza.

With the final phase – the construction of a medical school is slated for 2024 – this investment is set to become a hub of excellence in education and community engagement. With an eye on the future, Vassallo Group has identified alternative energy as a target area for growth. The organisation is also determined to comply with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulations by next year. This commitment will influence their processes across all sectors, ensuring a more sustainable approach.

The catering sector, through Cake Box, is also poised for growth as the Group plans to expand to more venues in Malta. Finally, the realty arm has had its share of ups and downs, with a surplus in rentals balanced by rising demand for residential properties. The organisation will be shifting its focus towards buying property, especially for first-time buyers. The mission of Vassallo Group is to bring about a positive change in society, while continually adapting to a changing world, is as strong as ever. As this year draws to a close, Pio and his team are gearing up for an exciting 2024.