An equilateral triangle to enter the world of work

A trilateral relationship that established between “Company – Intern – Training Institution”, which express the need to work with balance on the tips of an equilateral triangle, where everyone has to play their part.

There are different ways to enter the professional world. Certainly, one of the forms privileged and often required by the current work system is through an internship. Practical traineeship is an extremely valuable tool to “learn the job” because it allows one to put into practice what has been envisioned during the studies and to concretely try oneself in professional actions. According to the age and stage of one’s career, the internship can have different objectives yet the more common are: 1. the completion or refinement of a specific training path; 2. the path of re-employment or job reintegration; Having actively participated in the training of the Erasmus plus Learn2Create project, I pleasantly noticed how the project has highlighted, through its results and tools, some key common elements of the so called Work Based Learning all around Europe, for example: Formal training design exists almost everywhere, it often refers to objectives to be achieved; Tutoring and mentoring actions; Third parties with supervision and control functions; Limit on the maximum number of trainees in productive contexts, which varies according to the number of employees; Trilateral relationship (company – intern – training) The one that caught my attention the most is this trilateral relationship “Company – Intern – Training Institution”, which imposes in all countries the need to work with balance on the tips of an equilateral triangle, where everyone has to play their part. In practice, this triangle is often not so well balanced with the training area dominating over the others fulfilling all the bureaucratic duties and responsibilities. Yet, this role is extremely complex for schools as the educational system is meant to provide knowledge and skills to face life, a life that is also based on work but not just on that. In other cases, the entire burden of responsibility is placed on companies, considered the most privileged environment for learning “that particular” job and hence the most capable to follow the entire process of knowledge acquisition.

It emerges clearly that companies and training are still not speaking the same language: one says “you need to know” the other says “you need to know how to do”. The real pivot point should become “you must be fully aware, capable and proactive”: this in fact should be the third side of our triangle. So it’s not a matter of having theory on one side and practice on the other. It is a matter of knowing how to place oneself in front of an issue, a problem, a challenge and activate processes capable of resolving them. Moreover, considering the current challenges posed by globalization, continuous technological development and high rates of unemployment, there is an increasing need to strengthen the link between educational content and skills required by the labor market, integrating classroom training with on-the-job training. Taking part in the L2C training course, I perceived this desire to unite the two areas, to experience a dialogue, to offer tools to open a more concrete collaboration, placing the student at the center of the discourse. Much still needs to be done, but the project L2C has certainly laid a first brick towards what Butera called – paraphrasing his text Il castello e la rete (The Castle and the Net) – learning proactivity in working contexts, that ability to engage and feel involved in a process that is constantly changing under our own hands in order to develop confidence and face with courage and creativity any challenge before us. As I write these words, I think about how artists, creatives, musicians and museums have had to rethink themselves over the past year, how new solutions have been found and experimented.

Alessandra Colombo – Project manager and VET expert

Born in Venosa in 1984 and graduated with top marks in Literature, Philology and Linguistics. She aCended a master’s degree course in management and design for the enhancement of cultural heritage and began a collaboration with IBAM-CNR that lasted about two years. Since 2010, she has been working in the vocational training sector and she is specialised in the design of training courses and social inclusion projects. Since 2015, she has been a designer for the Quality for VET provider within the Materahub consortium. In 2018, she qualified as expert within the “Recognition of training credits and identification of pathways” according to DGR n.774/2016. Since 2019, she has been project manager of Materahub KA2 projects with a focus on VET and ICCs sector by carrying out coaching and mentoring ac?vi?es for the personal empowerment and learning methodologies with a focus on “special education for students with special educational needs” and teacher.