On Google Trends the queries for "social pedagogic worker" in the last twelve months have reached + 650% and in general, for many subjects related to the professional social workers and their activity (including the related formative aspect, for courses and CFU) there have been real upsurge. The last two budget laws (Law 205/2017 and Law 145/2018) have turned their attention to this profile and the main novelty is the obligation of a degree to practice the profession: in Italy there are at least 150 thousand people who perform it, in services involving more than half a million users. In this transitory phase, the urgency of an overall reflection on the definition of the professional profile of the educator and of his training is emerging quickly. The prospect is of better preparing those "educators of inclusion" that are crucial to bring forward in practice the much-invoked (but less fulfilled) social-health integration: that is, to promote the well-being of the well-rounded person, in line with the strategy with the 2030 European Agenda which indicates social inclusion as a central asset for development.
In Italy there are two training paths to become an educator, the degree in education sciences (L18 and L19) and the degree in professional social worker, part of in medical school (Snt2). The most recent legislation takes note of this difference, on the one hand finally recognizing the qualification of professional social worker also to graduates in Educational Sciences, on the other, distinguishing between social and health care professional and professional socio-pedagogic worker and detailing for each their area of activity.
Two training paths, two names
“Employability is certainly high for professional social health workers, especially for males. For this figure, the obligation to register and obtain ECM credits has just been in force. The three-year degree course is limited, although the number of applicants is unlikely to exceed the number of places, with 1,500 hours of training. The professional social health worker can work in all areas of education except for teaching itself: social welfare, social, socio-health including rehabilitation and basic healthcare, post crisis. I mention for example psychiatry, rehabilitation, minors in distress (both for behavioral problems or learning, disability … even for family problems), cognitive rehabilitation, all addictions, mental health, the elderly, street education, type-b cooperation for work placement, including the special area of social discomfort that are inmates”: in the words of Massimiliano Malè, pedagogist, Director of Social Services of the Cooperativa Sociale Nikolajewka and National Councilor of Federsolidarietà-Confcooperative. The professional pedagogical worker, who will have a degree in science of education (class 18 or 19), which is not a limited number course and which does not carry the obligation to register, will be able to work "in all areas mentioned earlier except rehabilitation and mental health: to date they can not enter the public health sector with a public competition”.
I would start from the know-how, because to make inclusion you need a great technical preparation
Having said this, what are competitive edges for the professional educators of the future? «Being willing to work on shifts, 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, as a social worker and a health worker. There is an overall stability of the system from the point of view of employability, but in general the best chances over the medium term are the socio-health system, which has stable resources ", Malè continues. "I would start from the know how, because to create inclusion you need a great deal of technical preparation, in particular the ability to use the ICF and the design tools well: the educator is first and foremost the person who draws up and makes educational projects, responding to fragility through the method of education. It means to have at heart the fact that the human being is a social being, that relationships must always be maintained and if they are not there, they must be built: it is not where you live that makes inclusion, but who you frequent. It means not being afraid of working with the door always open. And to be incredibly brave, wanting to innovate and not limit yourself to listening to past experiences but also doing new things”.
Moving from reception services to inclusion services, from service educators to community educators
The ecological horizon
The true relevance of the professional figure of the social worker, however, is closely linked to the strategic relevance of social inclusion. I believe that today every social worker must begin to seriously reflect on the meaning of this word, as I believe that the future of professional action for those who are social workers can only turn to inclusive processes", says Marco Bollani, educator, director of Come NOI social cooperative, fiduciary Anffas and Regional Councillor of Federsolidarietà Confcooperative Lombardia. "More and more often we are faced with the tendency of operators, services and organizations to operate exclusively with the people they welcome, with an approach that we could define as almost all inclusive”.
The horizon of the new model is the "ecological" one of interdependencies: if each of us is really capable and able to sustain our life to the extent that we recognize not only who is and what can and must be done individually, but also its dependence on others, then we find that the horizon of functionalism must be overcome. It is a mistake to think that to promote inclusion and quality of life you must increase exclusively the skills and autonomy of people.
"Then as educators we can only orient ourselves to build contexts rich in meaningful interdependencies, combating all the processes that generate exclusive addictions and working to increase, diversify and make less exclusive the human relationships that constitute the main support for the existence of each person. At that point, people's lives change, because people are facilitated in overcoming barriers and can do things they did not do before. This happens first of all because we have changed supporters, because we have changed the context and the rules with which we are connected, because we have interpreted our role as educators and the mission of our services. From acceptance services to inclusion services; from service educators to community educators, who design new life contexts and new inclusive opportunities for the well-being of people and of the whole community”.