Today, the training approach also known as Work-based learning (WBL) is becoming more and more popular in Europe. This term, as is well known, refers to a particular educational strategy whereby the learning process takes place through a practical experience (as similar as possible to an actual work action), whereby the learner applies the knowledge and skills learnt in theoretical terms and, adequately supported by a trainer/tutor, is able to directly assess the quality of his/her learning and the progress of his/her knowledge.
In Italy, to date, there are three main measures that we can count as WBL:
1) the first-level apprenticeship (especially the one addressed to young people under 25 years old);
2) vocational education and training (VET) pathways activated within the dual system;
3) apprenticeships and so-called work experience.
If first-level apprenticeship can be considered as the most important opportunity for young people to enter the labour market, its success and diffusion is also due to the experimentation of apprenticeship in vocational education and training courses under the “dual system”.
“The dual learning model, borrowed from the German culture and already successfully applied in Northern European countries, was introduced in Italy, starting from 2014, to try to cope with the serious and high rates of youth unemployment, in the medium-long term.”
The dual system is defined as a learning method based on alternating ‘classroom’ vocational education (in VET providers) and practical training in a ‘working context’ (at a company/organisation), thus promoting transition policies between the world of education and the world of work and enabling young people to find their way in the labour market by acquiring marketable skills and shortening the transition time between training and work experience.
The dual learning model, borrowed from the German culture and already successfully applied in Northern European countries, was introduced in Italy, starting from 2014, to try to cope with the serious and high rates of youth unemployment, in the medium-long term. The hope was to make the education and vocational systems more synergic with the labour market, improving their quality through the processes of recognition of skills and adaptation of curricula. The organisations belonging to the FORMA NAZIONALE Association were the first to envisage the dual system, to build its educational foundation, and to promote it at political level and at technical tables. Five years after the first experimentation, we can affirm, with data from INAPP, that the game has been won.
The first experimentation was introduced in 2015 and allowed about 60 thousand young people to be able to obtain, over a two-year period, a qualification and/or a professional diploma through training paths that involving various measures in the spirit of effective alternation between vocational training and employment: apprenticeship contracts, internships, simulated training experiences in companies.
Today the dual training system is one of the most effective representations of the WBL: a pathway in which companies and VET centres meet the training and employment needs of young people, guaranteeing them an effective entry into the world of work and at the same time enabling them to obtain a professional qualification or diploma.
Source: Eduwork.net Desk Research Italian report