The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

Work-related learning, social innovation and cultural heritage. a student voice approach for school-work alternance in secondary education

Glenda galeotti, University of Florence (Italy)

Gilda Esposito, University of Florence (Italy)


Skill mismatch originates from insufficient correspondence between workers's competences and the transforming demand of the labor market. Hindering EU and national growth, such phenomenon turned into a challenge especially in Italy, where the percentage of under-qualified workers has become worryingly higher than European average. A wealth of explanations is available: workers' poor digital and technological literacy within a national framework of still fragile lifelong and work-based education and training together with new complex requirements in work organization, job design, career development that have not been met. Among the resolutive strategies, evidences show that strengthening relations among formal and no-formal education Agencies and employers is a priority, in order to prevent skill obsolescence or, even worse, their absence from the market. Development of workers' soft skills appears as strategic gear to enter and remain in the labor market. This articles presents a model of work-related learning through School-work Alternance in Secondary Education (Italian Law 107/2015). The latter has been designed drawing from lesson-learned in empirical researches: "cultural heritage and local development"; "intercultural competences in a globalized society" and "digital access to basic welfare services". All shared the common objective of early development of career management skills of students, in preparation both to Tertiary Education, Vocational Training and the Labor Market. The experience, presented in the form of three case studies, involved the University of Firenze and eleven secondary schools in the Province of Firenze, Arezzo and La Spezia. Based on findings of qualitative and participatory research, the training device is characterized by valuing students' voices in negotiating curricula, develop guidance and career development within the framework of Cultural and Social Economy. In fact, the model aims at shaping new relationship between School, Enterprises and the Labor Market and interlink knowledge and disciplinary skills with soft skills. Pursuing a measurable impact of developed and diversified skills for employability, a contemporary learner centered perspective emerges: students learn through work and for work while teachers, trainers and experts enrich contents and didactic through action learning. At the end, they are all engaged to build employability paths for an inclusive, intelligent and sustainable Europe.

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