We4Youth, the alternating school-work “compass”

Published on Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Buona Alternanza” (“good alternation”) becomes good practice: the Corriere della Sera Foundation of Milan presented the first Italian research on the success stories in school-work integration programmes on 21st March. The study was promoted by Sodalitas Foundation with the support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and was carried out as part of The European Pact for Youth project, which is supported by Enel.

The publication of the best 25 Italian alternating school-work programmes and training apprenticeships on the site We4Youth.it was also announced in Milan. The online platform will serve as a “compass” (or road map) for a road show which will pass through some regions of Italy in order to spread the best practices and successful models.

Small and large companies worked with hundreds of students from secondary schools and technical and professional institutes, as well as from higher technical institutes. Enel is specifically working on placement programmes based on the turnover of fundamental technical-operative skills for the company; for the 2016-2018 period it has been working with the Senior Secondary School ISS Galileo Sani in Latina. Thanks to the apprenticeship required to earn a diploma, these students can acquire specialist skills before they graduate and this will help them in the job market. Basically, instead of spending their first working years completing the theoretical bases of their studies, the students in the Enel programme will be ready to meet their first challenges in the field. It is a quality partnership.

Work-Based Learning Experiences, called “Buona Alternanza” (“Good Alternation”) by the Italian government, were introduced by Law 107 of 2015, but our Group had already adopted this training path the previous year. We were the first company to launch an apprenticeship programme in Italy based on the German dual model. The results were excellent from the outset.

In the past work placement programmes and apprenticeships have run the risk of being unfocused and random, but that is no longer the case, thanks to the gradual involvement of other companies’ and the government’s impetus.

Furthermore, a “road map” such as We4youth is bound to grow, as it provides precise reference points for replicating the good practices that have already been launched, identifying the elements that can be shared throughout the country. These elements are the same, whether we are talking about northern cities like Turin and Bologna or southern communities like Pomigliano d’Arco near Naples and Enna in Sicily.

Students completed 263 questionnaires for the research: the aspects that they appreciated the most were the duration of the experience and their first-hand taste of work processes. Respect for rules, taking responsibility and teamwork were the other important skills acquired in the field. This helped show them the importance of correct relationships between colleagues and between colleagues and their bosses. Enel has inculcated these values to its employees; they have now also become fundamental in school education.