RicercAzione Volume 8 - Numero 1
RicercAzione Volume 8 - Numero 1
2015 was, in Italy, the year in which the integration of school, training and the world of employment received the most media coverage. This was mostly due to the ‘Buona Scuola’ state law approval. This topic is now known to the general public with the expression ‘School-work alternance.’ It is not the first time that this theme captures the attention of the Italian educational system. Alternance had already been planned, with different intentions from the current version, by law for secondary schools since the mid-2000s (Legislative Decree no. 77/2005 and Presidential Decrees 87, 88, 89/2010). INDIRE, for at least six years from 2007 onwards, has released the annual report on its use in Italy. The current legislation, however, has completely changed the scenario, introducing a curricular role that alternance could not achieve in the past. The debate on this topic is not new, nor is it an Italian peculiarity, of course. Leaving aside the discussion on the dual system, there has been global discussion for years on the problem of the mismatch between demand and supply of skills. The World Economic Forum notes that this mismatch is one of the main problems to be faced in the creation of jobs by calling into question the world of education, ahead of other systems, due to its contribution to the development of basic skills in each student. A recent report by CEDEFOP (2015) points out that the percentage of workers, at European level, whose skills are at lower levels than necessary to achieve full productivity, is 44%, while the proportion of workers who have less than the minimum standard of competencies required to begin their first work experience is 21%. In the Italian context, a Eurobarometer survey of 2010 (The Gallup Organization, 2010) shows that 33% of surveyed companies struggle to fi nd candidates with the right skills. In 2013 a study by Manpower gave this percentage close to 35%. Some employers say they cannot fi nd suitable candidates for the profi les sought because those who are highly qualifi ed usually lack technical/appropriate operational skills. Beyond that, many companies are worried by the almost total absence of soft skills in the workforce, such as: being able to maintain interpersonal relationships, knowing how to communicate eff ectively, how to solve problems, learning to learn, etc. Although the school system does not have an explicit mission (like that of the Vocational Education and Training system) in preparing young workers, it is inevitable that this mismatch between the education system and the world of employment can be attributed to it. And it has now become inevitable to consider alternance as the only solution to this mismatch. We know that the process of school-work alternance is carried out on several levels, including the pedagogical-didactic, psycho-social, organizational, legislative and procedural levels. All these seem to be included in Italy’s newwave of alternance. To date, we have no empirical RICERCAZIONE - Vol. 8, n. 1 - June 2016 | 11 data to foster refl ection on the outcomes of the new process of alternance in the Italian school system, but we can explain why some levels are more critical than others in this process.