Charlo has been both an observer and a key player in the education sector, with experience dating back to his top position in the Education Ministry from 2003 to 2008. For the Mediterranean College of Sport, the past year was dedicated to the meticulous preparation of the grand opening scheduled for September 2024. This extensive groundwork involved essential steps, such as the formation of a robust senior leadership team. Notable recruitment achievements included the appointment of Mariucca Fenech, formerly the head of St Joseph School in Sliema, as the head of MCS, and George Micallef, former head of the National Sport School, as director of sport. These appointments ensure expertise in the school’s academic and sports aspects.

“We also concluded the recruitment of the assistant heads of school who will be joining in the first part of 2024, as well as running a recruitment campaign for teachers who we are currently interviewing. We also ran a campaign to recruit coaches and other technical staff, including a sport psychologist, a sport nutritionist and strength and conditioning coaches,” Charlo explains. The construction of the school, designed to accommodate up to 390 students, started once the Planning Authority building permit was issued. Sister company Vassallo Builders undertook this endeavour, which included refurbishing the sports pavilion, constructing a new canteen, and creating state-of-the-art facilities such as a dance studio and a fitness centre, now branded as PowerLab.

The construction of a new 100-bed hostel is ready, and work on a new gymnastics hall, sports science and research centre and swimming pool are at an advanced stage. Meanwhile, construction on the new childcare centre will start soon. The overall project is set to reach completion by early 2024. The MCS team has actively engaged with parents and prospective student-athletes, organised meetings, and maintained connections with key stakeholders, such the Malta Football Association, the Aquatic Sport Association of Malta and Athletics Malta, as well as with other stakeholders both in Malta and abroad to ensure a smooth kick-off. Participating in the ICEF education fair for the first time also expanded the institution’s international reach.

“We will be the first private institution to offer this kind of education at secondary and sixth form level. We hope to offer students the opportunity to achieve success in education without giving up their dream to focus and specialise in their sport.” Learning Works also had a dynamic year. While continuing to offer courses in areas such as health and social care, it expanded its offerings to include a BSc degree programme in Management, a Diploma in Sport, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Eating Disorders and Obesity. 

“We also celebrated the first graduation ceremony for students achieving a Masters in International Sport Coaching, a programme run in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University,” he proudly notes. Charlo feels that having so many public and private institutions, offering accredited courses from the very basic up to a PhD, may be challenging from a business point of view, but for the student this is a great opportunity. “Throughout the years I have experienced so many success stories of individuals who would have stopped studying at 16 but decided to return later in life.

Indeed, many individuals, mostly women, have acquired qualifications at our institution once they realised education was key to helping them move up the ladder.” Facing stiff competition in a limited student market, Learning Works has focused on offering courses aligned with market demand and maintaining high standards. “We keep our ears to the ground to ensure we continue offering courses that are required and to adapt to remain competitive. We are a small team. However, I am very proud that each member contributes as if this was their own company.”