Relations between schooling and employment are rather complicated, and we should not have waited for protests against the initiative that alternates hours at school and at work to realise it. Anyhow, we are realising this now. And we are doing our utmost to make use of existing tools that can contribute to improve the situation. One of these is called 1st level apprenticeship, and if you have never heard about it, you are not the only one. «It is actually a subordinate employment contract for youth aged 15-25 years. The project is designed to help the student obtain a high school diploma», says Carmela Gallo, Head of Staff Leasing for The Adecco Group. «The process has been regulated for the past couple of years by Decree 81 of 2015 but, to date, it has only been applied to about one thousand students all over Italy».
The process requires an agreement between school and company. The student continues to follow curricular activities but he performs them inside the company for a period that is established by the Decree. Actually, a certain percentage of hours must be performed in the company, and is calculated as attendance. «It is a joint assessment project», says Ms. Gallo. «Education provided by the company is based on the individual training plan, which defines the skills the student will acquire in the company and how he or she will acquire them». In other words, a student can learn English in the Export Department of a company, instead of in the classroom. The company, along with the school, will certify that this skill has been actually acquired.
«If you need a new high school graduate in computer science, you can train the student from the onset, from the 4th or 5th year of senior high school, and accompany him or her to the diploma. Moreover, there are incentives for employment, if the employer confirms a 1st level apprenticeship».
Already working a lot on the scene of alternated school and work and also with apprentices from vocational schools and 3rd level apprenticeships intended for subjects who already have a diploma or a university degree, The Adecco Group is now focusing on 1st level apprenticeships too. «It might actually be a useful model», says Carmela Gallo. «If you need a new graduate in computer science, you can train the student from the onset, from the 4th or 5th year of senior high school and accompany him or her to the diploma. Moreover, there are incentives for employment, if the employer confirms a 1st level apprenticeship». In other words, it is a perfect tool to speed up the waiting time between school and work, which is a problem faced by young adults who seek employment.
Staff leasing can be an important way of expanding this type of offer. «The worker signs a contract with us and performs the apprenticeship with the client. The school defines the individual training plan with the student. We deem it essential to establish good relations with the headmaster or headmistress. We recently met the headmistress of Istituto Volta, which is part of the Technical Institute of Fornovo, and we are defining some interesting projects with her», says Carmela Gallo.
Will 1st level apprenticeship remove the barrier of small experiments? «I cannot provide numbers, it is not a variable I can regulate alone», says Ms. Gallo. «From what I have understood, the Government wants to promote this solution. It is obviously a process both companies and schools must get accustomed to». It is worthwhile persevering.