The school-work transition in EU is facing a number of challenges and new approaches are required to update teachers’ skills and empower students position themselves effectively into the world of work. The Erasmus+ KA2 project “Instruction” presents a novel tutoring model to support the transition from education to the world of work, as well as the lessons learned by its pilot implementation in five European schools.
Covid-19 crisis represents, with no doubt, a terrible threat to our health, social life and economic welfare. Notwithstanding this, as every problem, it can play an important role in stimulating our systemic and personal resilience. In this article, the experience of Cometa Formazione and IATH Academy has been described in terms of practices and actions to cope with this crisis, trying to still pursuing their model of “Inclusive Excellence”.
(Article published on the EfVET Magazine for Professionals – issue June/2020)
“We need to offer excellence to everyone, to all VET learners […] no one should be left behind. In short, education should be both excellent and inclusive” (Thyssen’s message to EfVET Conference 2018).
In the recent EU policy on VET, the paramount vocation “to leave no one behind” is clearly stated, by promoting a “whole-school approach” in education for sustainable development (EU Council Conclusions, 2010). The Bruges Communiqué (2010) mentions VET role in promoting social cohesion and facing societal challenges, underlining its dual objective: excellence and inclusion. Also the Riga Declarations (2015) claim to “quality and attractiveness of accessible and inclusive VET” by “more flexible and permeable systems”. The EU New Skills Agenda (2016) invites VET to work on “personal fulfilment and development, social inclusion, active citizenship and employment”, in line with the strategy of “a resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth at territorial level” (Communication Strengthening Innovation in Europe’s Regions, 2017).
(Article published on the EfVET Magazine for Professionals – issue March/2020).
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)
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*)
“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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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).
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)
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 .