VET For Inclusion And Identity Development: The Cometa Approach With Young Migrants

Cometa, located in Como, Italy, provides services to minors and young adults and is serving an increasing number of migrants. These young migrants are vulnerable due to their marginalization in areas such as language, cultural differences, and class status, and they face potential risks in not being able to find meaningful employment. This research proposal reports on findings from a qualitative study whose main objective was to examine students’ (who are migrants) and staff members’ growth and development through their involvement in a one-year long training course entitled the “Minimaster”. The Minimaster’s success relies on (1) a mix of training on professional subjects, e.g., enology, labour law, and Italian and English language literacy; (2) socio-emotional learning, e.g., communication skills, relationship building with local entrepreneurs; and (3) a combination of didactic methodology, e.g., strong work-based approach, as well as daily coaching and mentoring.
(Co-authors: Paolo Nardi and Terry L. Koenig, University of Kansas, for the ECER Conference 2019)

Career Guidance: the way to employability

During the European Business Summit 2016 in Brussels, Hans van der Loo, former vice-president of Shell, underlined how the scope of changes in recent times is such that it can be defined as the beginning of a new “era”, the Anthropocene. As he focused on the areas of education, training and transition to work, van der Loo stated: “Today we are educating our young people for jobs that do not yet exist, in order to solve problems that we are not yet even aware of. Only few seem to be aware of the exponential reality and we seem to think we can tackle 21st century challenges with 20th century education”. His contribution was then presented again and expanded by van der Loo himself during the third edition of the Conference “Cometa Social Innovation” on 5 May 2017: the change of era that is currently in progress undoubtedly marks a trajectory of change in the education, training and employment sector.

(Co-authors: Paolo Nardi, Samuela Arnaboldi and Barbara Robbiani. Research developed thanks to Progetto GO! funded by the Program Lombardia Plus)

VET for employability: a best practice

“Go! Youngsters and employment, innovative careers in key sectors of the Como area” is a project implemented by Cometa Formazione from April to December 2018. A final conference was held last December 10th; documents are available here.
The intervention has been supported by the European Union within the framework of “Lombardia Plus 2018” program of POR FSE Lombardia 2014/2020 – Axis  III – Action 10.4.1.: an initiative of Lombardia Region which supports training and work placement of unemployed or disadvantaged people in the key and growing sectors of the Region. 

Learning Enterprise in HVET: the case of Stenden Hotel

On May 16th, the monthly Cometa UNEVOC Centre Seminar hosted Thulani Xhali, CEO at Stenden Hotel. Stenden Hotel is one of the best practices in Europe in terms of School-Enterprise approach: it is a company including not only a hotel, but also a restaurant, cafeteria, catering service and providing event management and facilities. Students of the NHL Stenden University, enrolled at EQF5-7, play a role in different activities, from operational to strategical, according to their academic level. For every academic year, competences have been outlined and matched with the specific activities carried out in the several departments of the learning company. The main pillars of the pedagogical and organizational model, the pros and cons and the main challenges have been discussed during the seminar. The presentation given by Thulani Xhali has been streamed in cooperation with IATH Academy and EfVET. The video is available here. Slides are available on request (paolo.nardi@puntocometa.org)

Growth mindset education in VET: Cometa Work-Based Guidance model

Nowadays, the world of work poses enormous challenges to the world of education. A world in continuous (technological, organizational, cultural …) evolution increasingly requires the personal development of characteristics such as flexibility, ability to adapt to different contexts and, above all, the willingness to learn continuously. To adapt to this condition it is essential to have a set of skills consisting of basic skills, technical and professional skills and transversal skills, which are necessary to learn methodically, solve problems by inventing unusual solutions, collaborate with others, understand and adapt to the context to be able to introduce change. Beyond this, what is needed is an individual who is a protagonist, aware of himself/ herself, able to handle changes. How can we educate and form such an individual?

Inclusive Excellence in VET: towards Lifelong Employability

Inclusive Excellence is the distinctive element in Cometa learning approach, with highly positive results in terms of students job placement and personal development. These results have been recently awarded by UNESCO-UNEVOC which included Cometa in its international network. The official announcement, at the presence of the President of Lombardia, has been the trigger for an international conference on the future of VET organized by Cometa, EfVET, UNESCO-UNEVOC and VETNET (European network of researchers in VET).

Reality-Based Learning And The Oliver Twist School: Towards A New Approach In VET

Recent debate on VET, at both institutional and academic levels, points out the need for new approaches able to face the current and future challenges: (technical and social) innovation, attitude to lifelong learning, internationalization, literacy, among the others (Dato, 2017). A stronger partnership between the industrial and the educational systems is increasingly suggested (WEF, 2016). However, it is clear that rather than rooted only on work-based learning, the needed competences for the “unknown future” (Mulder, 2017) depend on new approaches able to stimulate in the students/apprentices a lifelong learning attitude (Pouliakas, 2017). This research, based on a case study analysis, aims at outlining the main elements of originality of a new approach called “reality-based learning” developed by Cometa Formazione-Oliver Twist School and measuring a set of KPIs to evaluate outcomes and social impacts of the approach. In this approach, both the professional training and the general education are integrated in a learning process based on involving students in the design and production of real products for real customers in school’s workshops. The analysis outlines mainly positive results in terms of human and relational growth; cultural and professional growth; school dropout reduction and public system savings; employment increase.

(Article by Paolo Nardi and, from Politecnico di Milano, Irene Bengo and Debora Caloni, presented at ECER 2018 and published on the Special Issue of IJRVET)

Cometa Educational Approach. A report on Oliver Twist School

On February 20th 2018, Cometa Formazione and Cometa Research organized the Conference “The Cometa Educational Approach”. It has been the official presentation of the Report promoted by Fondazione Agnelli and realized by Gaia Banzi (Università Milano-Bicocca) on the analysis of the Cometa educational approach and its transferability. Prof. Susanna Mantovani (Università Milano-Bicocca) gave her scientific supervision. Speakers of the conference included the international contribution by Shyamal Majumdar (UNESCO-UNEVOC) and Mariavittoria Garlappi (ETF Foundation). 

We are happy to share the conclusions of the report on this blog. The complete version (ITA and ENG) of the report can be downloaded here.

School-Job Integration. The School in the XXI Century


“Skills are a pathway to employability and prosperity. With the right skills, people are equipped for good-quality jobs and can fulfil their potential as confident, active citizens. In a fast-changing global economy, skills will to a great extent determine competitiveness and the capacity to drive innovation. They are a pull factor for investment and a catalyst in the virtuous circle of job creation and growth. They are key to social cohesion” (EU New Skills Agenda 2016).

3ˆ Cometa Social Innovation Conference

May 8th 2017 h. 15.00-19.00

Cometa, via Madruzza 36 – Como

In the daily global challenges of educational and training activities, the importance to help students, mainly young kids, to develop a personal resilience is paramount. New skills for the future jobs are required. This educational paradigm shift implies to change methods, to update competence, to innovate learning processes. Cooperation and co-creation among actors (policy-makers, schools, enterprise, research) become crucial. The Third Cometa Social Innovation Conference aims at concretely address the challenges related to this paradigm shift in the vocational education and training sector, including the new model of School-Job integration implemented by Cometa Formazione.
Guest speakers of this conference edition include Prof. Martin Mulder (University of Wageningen), 2016 award by the European Commission for his research on VET, who will focus on the process of innovation of competence in the context of the work-based learning. Prof. Mario Calderini (Politecnico di Milano) will outline the outcomes and impacts as emerged in a recent assessment of the Cometa school-job integration model. Hans Van Der Loo, expert in STEM approach, will conclude with an overview on the future trends of education in this Exponential Era.
(here a concept note. A wider article, in Italian, is available here, coauthored by Laureen De Palma, Paolo Nardi, Marianna Nicotra and Barbara Robbiani)
Registration at: eventi@puntocometa.org

The steps toward excellence in VET: an overview on recent policies

“Making VET a first choice”: this is one of the main goals the recent EU New Skills Agenda (20161) has set for next years. Few months before, the so-called Riga Conclusions (20152) were approved during the EU Latvian Presidency by the Ministers of Education from the European Union Member States, candidate countries, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, endorsing the new medium-term deliverables for vocational education and training. During this meeting, the ministers, supported by the associations of the European VET schools, aimed at stressing their efforts “in raising the overall quality and status of VET in the context of the Copenhagen process”. What declared in Riga and promoted one year later in the EU Skills Agenda, represents a new crucial step towards a set of new priorities and actions which will affect in particular the VET system at European level.