ITALY: Salesian vocational school research data shows benefit of business and educational partnerships for students
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Italy and in countries around the globe are focused on education as a path out of poverty for poor youth. Salesian vocational and technical education provides the skills youth need to find and retain long-term stable employment. Father Enrico Peretti, director general of the National Center of Salesian Institutions–Vocational Training and Continuing Education, recently requested to obtain a “regulatory stabilization in the government’s next budget” to help aid this education for youth.
In a presentation to the Italian Senate, Fr. Peretti discussed data collected through the “Monitoring on the Experimentation of Dual System of Forma and Confap” for the academic year of 2016-2017, which brought together businesses and students in shaping both classroom learning and onsite training. He noted that during the first year of this assessment, 150 vocational training centers were engaged with 3,250 companies with 66 percent of those companies actively collaborating with the programming and creation of the apprenticeship paths. More than half the companies (54 percent) were “convinced of the opportunity it offered to forming young resources.”
In addition, Fr. Peretti noted the level of satisfaction recorded by participants including students, families and businesses, was high, and reached an average rating of more than 75 percent. Nearly all, 98 percent, acknowledged that the Dual Education System Experiment represented an opportunity for growth for both the vocational training centers and youth in need of skills training and job placement.
In Italy, young people not in education, employment or training represent 20 percent of the population. Vocational training is an educational path that over the years has demonstrated its effectiveness in acting as a bridge between work and school, but on this path, it must include the dual system, which alternates formal class lessons and working internships inside companies and businesses.
“The numbers justify the importance of investing, in a structured fashion and no longer experimentally, on the direct benefit and link between education and professional partnerships in helping youth to engage in meaningful work,” said Fr. Peretti. “The model of reference is the long-standing German model used in Salesian educational centers that has long stabilized inseparable relationship between the world of education and the workplace.”
In addition to working for the education of youth, Salesian missionaries are also committed to reminding the institutions of the value of the dual education system, which both generates young professionals and represents a way of reactivating Italy’s business capacity.
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis. Unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent. Youth unemployment in some areas is as high as 41 percent.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care. According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
UNICEF – Italy Poverty