Covid-19: threat or challenge? Cometa Formazione experience to innovate TVET

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)

Inclusive Excellence in VET: the experience of Cometa Formazione

“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).

A DNA-model of Individual Capacity of “Leadership for Learning in VET”

Based on empirical findings in an Erasmus+ KA2 project titled “Leadership for Learning in VET”, the purpose of this paper is to reveal an empirically based DNA-model symbolizing the individual capacity of leadership for learning. Using the term “leadership for learning”, we address the connection between principals’ leadership for learning and teachers’ leadership for learning in VET. We found the DNA-model to be built by two strands of brick-stones: “Professional Skills and Knowledge” in wired with “Personal Attitude and Beliefs”. The findings presented in this paper are the result of a multiple case study conducted in collaboration with “leaders for learning” across domains of leadership for learning, across four VET schools, and across countries in the EU.

Graduate tracking and Alumni relations in VET schools

Since the Council Recommendation on Tracking Graduates (EC, Nov 2017), tracking procedures have become a key policy priority. The Recommendation is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and aims at improving the availability of qualitative and quantitative data on graduates from Vocational Education and Training (VET) and higher education programmes. It invites Member States to establish, by 2020, graduate tracking systems that include the collection of relevant administrative data from education, tax and social security databases; the development of longitudinal graduate surveys; and the possibility to link, on an anonymous basis, data from different sources to build a composite picture of graduate outcomes.

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.

The Pedagogic Function of Reality in Progressive Vocational Education: the Case of Cometa Formazione

In May 2017 I had the privilege to be a guest of Cometa Formazione in Como, Italy. I learned that this organization employs a set of philosophical, pedagogical and educational design principles which makes it quite unique in the world of vocational education within the European Union and beyond. Started as a fostering association of a group of families, it evolved in an organization for vocational education for both foster and regular students. Beauty is seen as an essential driver of respect and attraction, which influences behaviour and learning. The set of principles on which the practices of Cometa Formazione are based will be shortly described below. The principles go very well together with notions of progressive education, which is an educational philosophy developed by Dewey. He stated that discovery learning and applying acquired knowledge to the world around children was the right pedagogical approach for all education. Experiential learning thus became an essential ingredient of progressive education.

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:

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.