There is much discussion in Italy about the school-to-work alternation programme.
Especially after the tragic accidents that saw the death of three young people while they were in the factory, on the days dedicated to the programme’s work path.
Minister Giuseppe Valditara recently announced the new protective measures for students involved in the transversal skills and guidance pathways (Pcto).
Before going into detail about the new protections and guarantees provided for, in the new Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro programme, for the next school year 2023/2024, let us try to explain what it is and how this pathway works.
It is supposed to be of great importance for the introduction of young people into the world of work.
School-to-work alternation is a learning method that involves alternating periods of study in schools with periods of practical training in companies or external institutions.
This approach aims to provide students with a more concrete and direct knowledge of the world of work, integrating theory with practical experience in the field.
In Italy, school-to-work alternance is regulated by Law No. 107 of 2015, known as “Buona Scuola”, and the related Ministerial Decree No. 77 of 2017.
Let us explain what the guidelines are for the implementation of the programme:
It is clear that there were already guidelines in the previous programme to ensure the safety of young people during their working hours in companies.
So what will be the new proposals that will lead to greater assurance and prevent the recurrence of tragic accidents?
The most urgent actions are contained in the Decree-Law establishing measures for social inclusion, which, as we have said, will come into force as early as the next school year 2023/2024.
Enterprises involved in the new paths of the Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro programme will have to supplement their risk assessment document with a specific section indicating prevention measures and protective equipment for young people.
Moreover, the PCTO must be consistent with the three-year plan of the educational offer (PTOF) of the institutes and in line with the teaching activity.
There will be a new professional figure: the design coordinator teacher who will be directly responsible for the students’ job placement in companies, particularly in vocational companies.
These requirements include:
Finally, a system of constant monitoring of the quality of the courses is envisaged and training in safety in the workplace will be introduced as part of the teaching of civic education.
The School-to-work alternation route can be a valid and important project for the training of young people.
The programme can only work and be implemented when there is an effective guarantee that the health and safety of these young people is protected.
Companies entering the programme must guarantee maximum safety and present a valid and coherent plan of action for the students’ training.
It is necessary to pay this attention also to other situations involving university students or recent graduates.
They should have the right job opportunities to develop the right skills using the knowledge acquired during their university years.
Workers, students, recent graduates have the right to work in an environment that protects the safety of all.