Restoration works on Gudja Chapel being carried out by MCAST students

Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici visits ongoing restoration works by MCAST students at Gudja's Saint Catherine Chapel

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Restoration works on St Catherine’s Chapel in Gudja are currently being carried out by the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) students following courses in masonry heritage skills.

Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici recently visited the ongoing restoration works.

Bonnici highlighted that these students are carrying out restoration works on several sites around Malta including St Catherine’s Chapel in Gudja. He said: “If we want to keep preserving our rich cultural heritage through careful restoration of historical sites, we also need to make sure that we have skilled persons to do this important work. Safeguarding heritage sites is also about safeguarding trades and ensuring that skills and techniques are learned by young people through hands-on learning.”

Photo credit: Kian Bugeja / DOI

MCAST Principal and CEO Joachim James Calleja said: “All our vocational courses offer students the opportunity to gain both practical and theoretical skills. The Construction Department within the Institute for Engineering and Transport offers courses that enable learners to take up a career in stone restoration. Lecturers guide our learners to participate in stone restoration interventions. Past projects include restoration work at St Philip’s Chapel in Senglea, St Augustine Convent in Rabat and the station in Birkirkara. This year’s projects include the stone restoration of iconic niches in several villages and collaboration with parishes and local councils. Students following these heritage skills courses can progress to the next level while learning recording techniques as well as cleaning and testing procedures.”

Bonnici explained that MCAST offers courses in construction and heritage skills at various levels ensuring that young people are trained in the maintenance, protection and preservation of heritage sites. One of the ongoing projects is the restoration of the Chapel of St Catherine’s in Gudja, which was built in 1631. The present chapel replaced an older one which was built in 1562.

MCAST’s Institute for Engineering and Transport offers over fifty courses, and students can progress from entry-level courses to degree courses. The masonry heritage skills course is offered by the Construction Department with its Higher Diploma in Masonry Heritage Skills (Kapumastru). The practical training is carried out in college-based workshops and on heritage sites.

MCAST will open the second call of applications for courses starting in October from the 7th to 11th September.