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. 
The project delivered 4 professional courses in the following sectors: textile, wood manufacture and food & beverage. The courses offered a total amount of 780 hours of training, which are divided in two parts. The first one consisted in a series of academic classes, while the second was developed directly on the working site.  The advantage of the last part consisted in giving the opportunity to learn both technical and transversal skills, which are fundamental in order to create a specialized professional figure. The goal of the courses was to give  specific formation, which is concrete and work oriented.
Below the courses in detail:

  1. FOOD AND BEVERAGE MANAGER

80 hours: academic learning and workshop.

Goals: To learn the main skills of becoming a professional Food & Beverage Manager, such as the coordination and the management of a catering event, including the preparation of the aperitif both in the classic style and in molecular mixology.

  1. FROM THE CONCEPT TO THE COLLECTION

200 hours, including 80 hours on the working site.

Goals: To strengthen and improve basic knowledge of Photoshop for textile design purposes and learn how to create a draft.

  1. DIGITAL MANUFACTURE

300 hours, including 100 on the working site.

Goals: To qualify motivated students in the use of new digital technologies, which are employed in the modern productive process of carpentry. Moreover, the course had the aim to satisfy the industry demand of a new kind of profession: the “digital carpenter”.

  1. RESTAURANT WAITER

200 hours, including 80 in a working structure.

Goals: To train professional figures in order to supply the growing request of specialized staff and to allow them to find a job in the immediate future. The students learnt how to be a professional waiter, communicative abilities, scientific and logic notion and hygiene and safety at work.

The beneficiaries of the project were 41 unemployed young people from the age of 16 to 25. The target was composed by young people who were left out of the work market due to their origins, their social-economic conditions and due to the fact that they didn’t complete their studies or have poor work experience.
Cometa Formazione focused its attention on the importance of hospitality and social inclusion through work. In fact, the project supplied both the needs of education and the industry demand of professional staff.
One of the key factors of the project was the presence of a tutor. This figure had a fundamental role in supporting the students and staff. The tutor helped students in increasing their motivation, monitoring their improvements and keeping in contact with the teachers involved.
The professionals, who were in charge of the educational and technical activities, based their approach on supporting the academic notions with practical experiences, workshops, simulations, and tests.
This was a crucial point of the project, as the educational path was rapid and efficient and the students learned how to face everyday problems at work. Thanks to the direct contact with companies, students had the possibility to face the world of work gradually where companies are seen as didactic partners.
Below are shown the results at 3 months from the conclusion of the project. The results concerned only 35 students, as 3 have attended two courses and 2 have abandoned the program.
19 students have an occupation (13 extracurricular apprenticeships, 2 professional apprenticeships, 3 fixed-term contracts, 1 contract in collaboration), 6 are searching for employment supported by Cometa Formazione, 5 have resumed attending the school and 5 are searching for a job in an autonomous way.
Given the target of the selected recipients and their profiles in large part tied to the experiences ofthe school dispersion and difficult socio-economic and family situations, the result of reintegration into school circuit and/or training for their part represents a positive result with respect to the contrast of forms of discomfort and marginalised youth: 8 of 11 recipients have undertaken further training courses related to the same field already selected within the educational offer of the project in question, having the desire to further develop the skills acquired and aspire to a better placement.

Published by Paolo Nardi

Paolo Nardi

International Affairs Officer and Responsible for Research at Cometa. Fellow at PlusValue. Assistant editor of the journal Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment. I got my degree in Public Administration and International Institutions and my PhD in International Law and Economics at Università Bocconi; I also got a MA in Public Policy at Brunel University London. My research interests shifted from human geography (namely: non profit, social innovation and community development) to education and training.

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