The work-based learning program is a course that trains young migrants through a cultural and professionalizing course; the aim is a holistic development of each student, which translates into a positive insertion into society and the labour market. The practice is managed by a coordinator and by tutors and trainers, who interface with local companies.
The coordinator, trainers and tutors. In this practice, they are responsible for organizing and managing all activities, from selection to internship in the company.
Migrants. Both minors and young adults are involved in Cometa; they come with a very complex socio-economic background and, often, also with significant psychological traumas. The migrants involved in Cometa have usually been in Italy for a short time and do not yet have the linguistic and cultural skills.
Enhancing the technical-professional and communicative-relational skills of young migrants, through training modules designed on their needs.
The employment and social integration of young migrants.
A work-based learning course for work and cultural integration.
List of phases of the “Work-based learning program for migrants” practice:
- Phase 1: Scouting, interview and welcoming
- Phase 2: Training courses and tutoring
- Phase 3: Matching with the requests of the companies and internship
Phase 1: Scouting, interview and welcoming
This first phase aimes to research, evaluate and select the beneficiaries of the course. The scouting is carried out in a network with the migrants’ reception realities of the territory, through individual interviews, analysis of the expectations of the recipients, first assessment of linguistic competence, control and insertion of personal data.
Activity 1A: scouting and collection of adhesions
The future beneficiaries can be reached in different ways; first of all, for example, the network with the different realities of the territory that deal with first reception. In fact, before the course starts, the coordinator contacts the local realities that work with young migrants on different levels – residential communities, welcoming centers, voluntary organizations, etc. – and proposes a partnership for a possible integration path for future beneficiaries of the course, identified among the young people already followed by the institutions themselves.
Another way of reaching the beneficiaries is by word of mouth: the former students, integrated in society and with a stable job, sponsor the course to young migrants who are still unemployed.
The greatest success, at the educational level, occurs in cases where the future student or the future student comes from a community: there is in fact a contact person with whom it is possible to work together to better develop the personalized project on the individual.
Activity 1B: first exploratory interview and construction of the personal dossier
Once the list of those interested in the course has been drawn up, the coordinator, together with the reception staff, carries out a first exploratory interview with all those interested. During this interview they get to know the future student and their history; in addition, the main data are collected in order to build the training path and to help young migrants in their future job placement. This information concerns personal data – when possible supported by documents, previous training carried out in the original country or in the host country and a look at the personal situation of the individual migrant.
Beside this information, the reception staff checks and collects the documents certifying the migrant’s situation from a legal point of view: this phase is often very problematic, due to the bureaucratic complexities and the difficulty of making these young people understand the necessary steps and administrative tasks to be carried out. The objective of this action is to activate a specific dossier for each child that collects information, documents and, subsequently, the personalized plan and information on the training and work path.
Activity 1C: analysis of skills and preliminary training needs
Once all the data, necessary for opening a formal position in the training field, has been collected, the reception staff proceeds to a first analysis of the skills and preliminary training needs, such as basic literacy. The reception staff also carries out an initial assessment of job skills, job search skills, character area and future prospects.
Activity 1D: welcome and motivational activities
Once all the steps that precede the actual welcoming are done, the young migrants are welcomed into the institute; in the period that separates them from the start of the lessons, the group is involved in volunteering and motivational activities, through which the group tutor can observe the psychological profile – and therefore any need for support – of the students and their actual motivation to get involved in a training course based on work.
Phase 2: Training courses and tutoring
The second phase represents the training actions of young migrants, which are divided into basic, cultural or vocational courses, and advanced technical courses. This phase is also crucial to identify the skills and professional aspirations of each individual student and, possibly, redirect them to a different training path or directly to the world of work.
In this phase, one of the main roles is hel by the tutor: they build the path of each student from a pedagogical point of view and focuses on some elements useful for the personal and professional growth of the beneficiary; between these:
- Tidiness: ensures that the student arrives on time, that they attend the lessons; the tutor has constant control over the active participation of the class in the lessons;
- Educational attention: they pay attention to all the practical and personal details that make teaching work or attendance difficult;
- Personalization: the reference to work and to the discovery of the attitudes of each beneficiary included in the training course is continually present.
The tutor’s activity, although structured, also consists of informal actions: dialogues, socio-emotional support, discussion on the complexities emerging along the path.
Activity 2A: Basic cultural courses and basic vocational courses
Following the welcoming process, the first real training phase begins, based on the assessment of the skills already achieved. According to the level of competence of the individual student, young migrants are placed in two types of training courses:
- Basic cultural courses; for example, comprehension and communication courses in the language of the host country, basic mathematics, basic comprehension and speaking of a foreign language;
- Basic vocational courses; these allow the achievement of a minimum level that enables to start a real training; the areas generally included in the training relate to the technical-professional field – in Cometa to the wood, textile and hospitality, hygiene and cleaning sectors, to the management of relationships (with the manager, with the customer / colleague and with the other in general).
Some examples of the basic courses that are provided in Cometa are the following:
- Italian for foreigners module (50 hours)
- HACCP module (4 hours)
- work safety module – general part (4 hours)
These courses offer a qualified first entry into the world of work, but their first objective is to assess whether a job prospect in one of these sectors is truly appropriate for the individual student or if they need an alternative planning. This process is organized and managed by the course tutor together with the trainers of the individual modules, with a continuous dialogue with the reception staff.
Activity 2B: Possible professional redirection or redesign of the educational and training project
At the end of the basic courses, the tutor, together with the reception staff, carries out a first check on the development of professional and cultural skills. This verification, together with a motivational interview with the student, allows the tutor and the student to evaluate which is the best continuation from a social and educational point of view:
- continue with studies in the same field of the basic courses;
- continue with studies in a different field than the one of the basic courses;
- enter directly into the world of work without a high level of specialization.
This evaluation sometimes leads to direct the student to another institution, if the field in which they want to specialize is not present in the institution that carried out the reception phase and the basic cultural and technical courses.
Activity 2C: Professional technical courses
If the student want to continue with their studies in the same field already experienced in the basic courses, they proceed to attend more specialized courses. These courses are called “professional technical courses” because they offer more specific training and because they are conceived and designed in collaboration with a network of partner companies, which lead to host the participants in internships and, in many cases, to hire them. These courses are made up of different training modules that allow the student to be fully specialized.
During the entire duration of the professional technical course, the tutor pays constant attention to the individual student, to monitor them and, if necessary, carry out a redesign of the training and educational accompaniment of the young migrant.
At Cometa, there are two professional technical courses: the Food and Beverage MiniMaster and the Housekeeping MiniMaster; the 25% of the students access these courses. In the Food and Beverage MiniMaster, for example, the modules are as follows, divided by areas:
- Modules based on understanding and communication:
- Communication (32 hours);
- Aesthetics and bon ton (30 hours);
- English (50 hours);
- Forms that prepare for bureaucratic formalities:
- Rights and duties of the worker in the company (4 hours);
- HACCP (8 hours);
- Safety in the workplace (4 hours);
- Professionalising technical modules:
- Oenology (18 hours);
- External laboratory (26 hours);
- Entrepreneurs’ testimonies (38 hours);
- Food Sciences (26 hours);
- Service techniques (137 hours);
- Accompaniment to work placement (12 hours);
- Internship evaluation (15 hours).
Phase 3: Matching with the requests of the companies and internship
The training course of young migrants ends with a period of internship and with a possible inclusion into the labour market. In this phase, the coordinated actions of the tutor, local companies, the Head of Company Relations and the Institute’s Career Service are essential. The purpose of this phase is to bring together the demands of the labor market and the training and needs of young migrants, in order to give companies new, adequately trained staff and to give students a concrete possibility of entering the labour market.
In this phase, the fundamental role of companies emerges: through dialogue with them, the conception of training courses, objectives and, of course, internship opportunities and in most cases, job placement at the end of the training are born.
Activity 3A: Research of requests from local companies and matching with the student
The comparison with the labor market is carried out by the Head of Relations with Companies. This figure is involved in two moments: during the construction of the paths, they call the staff to build paths in line with market demands and effective from the point of view of employability; instead, when looking for possible internships, compare the job descriptions provided by the companies themselves to find the perfect match between the individual student and the future internship position.
Activity 3B: Internship and monitoring
The Head of Relations with Companies submits the potential matching to the student’s tutor and together they verify the feasibility of the internship, not only from a training point of view – what is best for the individual student – but also paying attention to personal and logistical aspects, such as the distance from the student’s accommodation.
After contacting the company and signing the internship plan, the tutor accompanies the student to the company, where they will carry out the internship – in Cometa, the internship hours are 960.
The tutor, throughout the duration of the internship, maintains a constant dialogue with the student and with the company representatives, in order to monitor the effectiveness of the training plan and intervenes with a redesign in the case that different problems or needs arise from those originally provided.
Activity 3C: Closing the internship and possible recruitment
At the end of the internship, the tutor and the student, together with a company contact person, the Coordinator and the Manager of the relationship with companies, verify the effectiveness of the internship and its progress.
At Cometa, companies almost always offer students who finish their internship to start working as employees in the same job, a sign of the effectiveness of the training course.
- Coordinator: a supervisor who interfaces with other figures involved in this practice; they deal with the coordination of training projects, training and accompaniment to operational staff and meeting with young migrants.
- Welcoming staff: they carry out the first interview with the young people, outline their profile and set up the personalized planning. They also manage the training needs assessment phase and scouting, also involving young people in voluntary and motivational activities to evaluate and help them with respect to their motivation.
- Responsible for the relationship with companies: they manage the relationship with companies. Their task is to interface to identify training needs, set up the internship work of the students and intervene in support of companies in the context of the path.
- Project Manager of the training courses: they are responsible for the planning and management of the courses, from the point of view of organization, economic sustainability and communication.
- Tutor: they are responsible for accompanying the students in the classroom and during the internship; they support them in an educational path of growth and recovery of their self-esteem. In collaboration with the partner network, they are responsible for managing and coordinating the entire integration process, including administrative, legal and often personal aspects.
- Trainer: teaching staff and industry professionals perform their service within the modules that are activated.
- Career Service: staff supporting the job placement of young people. It acts as a matching point between the questions of the companies and the profiles of the children as reported by the tutor; constantly monitors the placement of young people attending courses.
There are no specific tools for this practices.
For this practice, the spaces used can be physical spaces already present within the school, such as classrooms or auditoriums, or in spaces made available by partner companies.
- April, D. D’Addio, A. C., Kubacka, K., Smith, W.C. (2018). Issues of cultural diversity, migration, and displacement in teacher education programs. Paper commissioned for the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls. http://gem-report-2019.unesco.org/background-papers/
- OECD (2016) Making Integration Work: Refugees and others in need of protection. OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI:
- UNESCO (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, displacement and education. Building Bridges, not Walls. Paris: UNESCO