One of the most important aspects of Italian law 107 was the insertion of compulsory work experience during students’ high school years. This is a great opportunity for teenagers, for companies who can begin their future selection process but above all, meaning firms can improve their performance in digital and social network expertise.
Compulsory work experience for all students during the final three years of high school has been one of the most significant aspects of law 107, adopted in 2015, and follows the concept of “open schools”. The decree foresees technical and professional students completing 400 hours of work experience and other high school students 200.
A unique chance of exchange and reciprocal enrichment
Law 107 may be seen by schools as an obligation, but for companies it really is a unique opportunity to be grasped with both hands. For starters, it is a way for students to understand the social value of a company: in the current climate, showing that companies are not only interested in the bottom line but are putting young staff members’ professional growth at the heart of their thinking, is a strong and highly motivating message.
Secondly, this project can be an effective way for companies to select the very best human resources: understanding how new recruits are putting their talents into effect in the workplace; the best way to gauge their attitude and reaction to being in a new context. To get to know students over a three year period – especially in a time of such rapid technological evolution – is key for companies, how will future staff members learn and apply what they have picked up?
Finally, let’s not forget crucial input will be made by the students themselves, especially through their digital and social networking skills, areas which are often entirely ignored by companies despite this being a key area for future growth, gaining competitive advantage and facing the market with utmost competence.
The resources necessary to get the project off the ground
As with any investment, active participation in the work experience program means a company needs to fully understand its own objectives and have the instruments and resource in place to achieve this target. While company goals can differ from one organization to the next, the tools made available by the authorities in pursuing a successful work experience project can be shared by all and can be especially useful in less structured organizations.
The education ministry for universities and research has a dedicated website with a section for managing the project. The Italian industrial association, Confindustria, has a guide aimed at assisting companies wishing to develop such projects within their enterprise and those looking to develop systematic collaboration with schools. Regional chambers of commerce, including those of Milan, Monza and Brianza and Lodi foresee funding for training of company tutors and for the creation of services crucial in managing such projects.
Evidently, the first question must be what type of responsibility can be given to students? While it is clear that students cannot substitute professional roles, a clear and detailed answer to this question is to be found in the “rights and obligations of students in internship programs” document. This contains all the rights a student can expect to enjoy (from the type of training to the presence of an in house tutor to safety training on site) and the code of conduct expected in a company.
A company can develop their scheme in various ways but the simplest one is to contact their local industrial association. They will start the process by suggesting the most appropriate path to follow, exploiting existing networks with a plan that will be coherent with the company’s size, goals and market position.
Clearly, every company can personalize their management system for such a project. Independently from the role carried out and the methodology in place for in company learning, work experience programs are key in companies finding and developing staff members of the future, not simply taking a chance but a concrete investment in the next generation of workers’ and companies’.