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The first Crafts Incubation Centre in Gozo inaugurated by PM

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Incubation-Inauguration.jpgThe first Crafts Incubation Centre in Ghajnsielem, Gozo was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Dr Lawrence Gonzi, yesterday.

The project involved the construction of an extension of the existing Wistin Camilleri Gozo Centre for Art and Crafts and the construction of a number of workshops that make up the underlying Incubation Centre.

The project was carried out through an investment of €850,000 from the Structural Funds Programme for Malta 2004-2006, specifically under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Government of Malta funded 25% of the total project.

Speaking during the inauguration, Dr Gonzi referred to this project as another important stepping stone in the social and economic development of the island. ‘We are acting in accordance with the island’s particular scenario and addressing its needs in a most tangible way, as can be seen today,’ said the Prime Minister. “Our plans for Gozo constitute what is probably our most ambitious project for the next legislature – Gozo as an ecological island; a challenge which will translate into a better environment and simultaneously create more jobs particularly in the tourism sector.”

While mentioning the various budget measures aimed at enhancing the education and employment sectors in Gozo, the Prime Minister also referred to the increased stipends for Gozitan students and the opening of two MCAST centres in Gozo. Dr Gonzi also alluded to the increasing number of Gozitan students attending University courses which now adds up to 952.

‘We are determined to continue making this island an ideal place to live and work in,’ concluded the Prime Minister,’ and this is evident in the concrete proposals included in our electoral programme which are specifically geared towards the creation of more and better jobs in Gozo.’

The Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono, referred to the project as one that links in a concrete way the two pillars of employment and education as it offers educational opportunities in art and crafts and an opportunity for Gozitans to set up their own business and generate employment in the field.

Minister Debono also spoke about how Gozo-specific European Union funds were addressed towards the generation of more jobs in Gozo and cited the training hotel project in Qala, specific schemes created for Gozo including the graduate scheme, courses for adults to help improve their employability, and tourism-related projects, such as those addressing the diving and heritage niche areas.

Minister Debono also referred to Government incentives and schemes launched last year that encourage the private sector, including small enterprises, to create more job opportunities in Gozo. She also referred to European Union funds that will continue to address Gozo’s potential through 10% of €855 million in the second European Union budgetary period until 2013.

The Crafts Incubation Centre and the extension of the Wistin Camilleri Gozo Centre for Art and Crafts is built on two floors. The ground floor is made up of 10 workshops to be made available for those wishing to set up a business in the field and an exhibition space. The first floor includes five large workshops that serve as an extension to the school, adjacent utility rooms, administration offices, and a conference hall. The two floors are served with a lift, making the premises accessible to persons with special needs.

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