From Italy the tutor of the transition, the hinge between business and school

Thanks to the “P4CA – Partnership for Creative Apprenticeship” and “Learn2Create” Erasmus plus projects, Materahub has had the opportunity to take a deeper look at the effectiveness of the dual system between the worlds of vocational training and work. This was made possible thanks to the collaboration of experts from Anpal Servizi and the Chamber of Commerce.  

Below, you can find some abstracts of the fruitful conversation we had with Dr. Domizio Paolone, referent of the Transition Areas of Puglia and Basilicata of Anpal Servizi SpA, with Anpal tutors (Dr. Caterina StabileDr. Maria Tucci and Dr. Gianfrancesco Palumbo) and with Dr. Saverio Primavera, responsible for work-related learning experiences of the Chamber of Commerce of Basilicata. 

With the State-Regions Agreement undersigned on the 24th of September 2015, the “Dual System” started to spread in Italy too. Dr. Paolone, can you explain what it is about?

The “Dual System” is an integrated training model between schools and enterprises, borrowed from Germany and already successfully applied in Northern European countries. Compared to the previous tools allowing young people to carry out work experiences as short-term or summer internships, the Dual System aims to create a continuous and organic relationship between these two worlds that have had limited interactions, at least until now in Italy: the educational vocational training system and the labour market.

So, is the dual system a very good solution to support young people throughout a smooth transition from the educational to the working life? How does it work in detail, what tools do you use to facilitate this “transition”?

It does! The transition – a word more than appropriate to the context – takes place through useful tools such as type 1 apprenticeship [It is an employment contract that includes a formal training component at school and formal training in the company – ndr] or work-related learning experiences. In accordance with Law 107/2015, schools and businesses have started engaging in a dialogue that until now has been difficult to generate. The dual system also allowed to consolidate two professional profiles: the school tutor and the company tutor who represent two key professional profiles enhancing the dialogue between the two worlds and supporting young people in their job placement”. 

ANPAL SERVIZI Spa is a company that operates in the field of active labour policies by developing guidelines and specific goals for the promotion of employment in Italy and abroad. How has the Agency contributed in promoting this dialogue between educational and working worlds?

We used the word “transition” earlier. Anpal Servizi has addressed this need to increase and encourage this dialogue in a more structured way by institutionalising the professional profile of the “Transition Tutor”. Thanks to their knowledge of the territory and the local productive world, the tutors of ANPAL Servizi aim at bridging the gap between supply and demand and creating opportunities for schools and host structures to know each other and start a productive dialogue. The intervention prepared by ANPAL and ANPAL Servizi envisages the involvement of 1.255 schools throughout the country, starting from the school year 2017/2018. Since January 2018, 250 tutors were identified thanks to the support of the Regional School Offices and have been available for the first 400 schools.

Let’s ask the Transition Tutors directly: what specifically does an “Anpal Transition Tutor” do?

The Transition tutor has the main goals to strengthen the role of Schools, Universities, ITS and CFP-IeFP in the creation of a network and to bridge the gap between supply and demand, with particular attention to the first level apprenticeship. As tutors, we prepare standard models and tools for the qualification of guidance and placement services. We carry out actions of territorial animation between institutional actors and the labour market to foster the diffusion of the dual system culture.

The Erasmus plus “P4CA” and “Learn2Create” projects aim to find solutions to support this, imagining training paths aimed at company tutors on one hand and at school tutors on the other, to promote WBL in particular within the Cultural and Creative Industries sectors. In your opinion, which are the main skills of a professional like you, who operates among schools and businesses?

Firstly, we have to know the regulatory environment and the functions of our role. It is necessary to: have a deep knowledge of the training contracts of the sector and/or company; know how to use the evaluation tools specific to assess learning and skills acquired, as well as the results achieved by the young trainees. All this is crucial for the final certification issued by the company. Competences in training and learning methodologies are also essential. Of course, we need to have psychological, empathic and communicative skills too.

With reference to the Cultural and Creative Industries, we would like to ask Dr. Saverio Primavera – head of the Chamber of Commerce of Basilicata – what he thinks about the role of CCIs within the Dual System, what advantages they can gain from this system and what contribution they can give.

Since enterprises operating within the Cultural and Creative Industries usually are small businesses, they have difficulties in guaranteeing type 1 apprenticeship contracts, whilst they can easily be involved in work-related learning experiences.

The main advantage of WBL for a company is the possibility of being able to “customise” the training, i.e. the possibility of agreeing with the training institution an individualised and personalised training pathway (in compliance with the minimum standards of knowledge established by the MIUR) to the needs of the company itself. Often, however, a low propensity of companies was noted due to the lack of incentives and limited need of human resources.

In conclusion, we would like to ask you: do you think that there could be a connection between the dual system and the development of entrepreneurial skills and attitudes?

I cannot imagine what the general connections between apprenticeship and entrepreneurship might be, considering that having worked for a number of years as an employee in a certain sector is a critical factor for the conscious start up of a business. It is true that CCIs could play a central role in this because of the nature of their small enterprises with few employees. For this reason, trainees are going to support entrepreneurs in all their professional tasks and thus naturally acquire a more entrepreneurial approach to work.