Formamentis came up with its own development strategy based on the idea of a nuanced approach in a training process that is linked to companies’ professional needs and internationalization desires; a process that already started with past initiatives, i.e. the project “In Cibum, Gastronomy School”.
Tourism and Agribusiness are two economy sectors in the South of Italy that reflect, more than others, the necessity for professional profiles with excellent competences and skills. Key-words are: international imprint, capacity of following and interpreting new trends, innovation, personal initiative and flexibility. These sectors have a strong economic and occupational impact, but they are characterized by a high skills mismatch, by a lack of coherence between the abilities of the people that are about to enter the labor market and those requested by modern companies.
At the base of the project “V.A.L.L.E.Y. – Vocational Alliance: from Learning to Labour for European Young” lies the possible correlation among various departments in the perspective of a better improvement of the typical products that Italy has to offer, food and wine, cultural and touristic goods and the opportunity to increase youth employability in the abovementioned sectors.
The project is in line with a European development plan, shared among the Consortium members, which aims at fulfilling two main purposes:
- promoting synergies and partnerships, at a local and European level among the project’s stakeholders, who are interested in shaping the transition from the world of education to the labor market – institutional and social stakeholders, schools and productive systems such as Federalimentare, Federturismo e Rete Destinazione Sud;
- making professional skills more concrete and real through the promotion and use of validation tools for the recognition of competences and abilities according to European standards, i.e. ECVET system. This is aimed at encouraging geographic and professional mobility in order to enhance the process of internationalization of companies and professional profiles.
The Italian regions of Campania, Calabria, Puglia and Basilicata have first decided to regulate the establishment of Regional Directories of professional qualifications, in agreement with partners and social stakeholders. In consonance with the 2014-2020 planning and for the implementation of Actions and Cohesion plans, the abovementioned regions have started an ambitious project for the re-organization of their educational systems by approving, since 2013, Three-Year Operating Plans, which are functional to the renovation of the regional training and learning offer. These plans are to meet companies’ needs for professional profiles with a technical-specialist training, specific cultural knowledge and transversal competences.
These regions have something in common: the need to set up an educational system that properly suits modern economic and productive demands and the desire to contribute to the economic and occupational development of the South of Italy; the companies, partners of the project, are willing to improve their performance and it is fundamental for them to rely on qualified human resources as this would lead to a better competitiveness and capacity to successfully enter the national and international market. The selected schools are the protagonist of this ongoing change for they need to improve the quality and relevancy of their learning offer through study programs able to fit the needs of labor markets, through the use of specific methods and tools that will make the education more flexible, personalized and through the support of their students’ transnational mobility.
The transnational mobility
At the center of the project V.A.L.L.E.Y. there is the transnational mobility, which is conceived by Formamentis and all the Consortium members, as a privileged tool for the development of the necessary competences and for the youths’ introduction into the labor market, which appears to have a more European character.
Tourism is facing new challenges and trends: from the capacity to intercept different demands coming from various needs and cultures to the rising of new forms of tourism (eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, experiential tourism etc.) directly linked to the wide Agribusiness spinneret. Companies working in tourism and Agribusiness have started important strategies for the internationalization of products and services and this requires versatility, open mind, adaptability, and interaction with demanding customers and different situations. Hence, the need for specific professional profiles with high levels of flexibility and initiative, able to respond to the emerging transformation.
The foreseen mobility aims to two main purposes: a better transparency in the judgement of different qualifications and the recognition of people’s training experiences abroad along with the competences they acquire.
With V.A.L.L.E.Y., cooperation between the Consortium members and the European partners is at the base of the approach towards youths’ transnational mobility in the reference sectors and of the promotion of those tools that give value to the same mobility, i.e. the application of the ECVET system. There is mutual trust among the partnership members, who share the same desire to consolidate the partners network and to guarantee high quality standards:
1) pre-mobility phase: the emphasis will be on the learning outcomes that are to be achieved and more specifically, on the definition of new criteria and modalities for the evaluation and validation of the same outcomes. This phase will engage each of the project’s partners – Formamentis, regional authorities, schools, Federalimentare, Federturismo, Rete Destinazione Sud, all the companies in their network and the hosting organizations- as it aims to realize a training “Alliance” between the education world and the labour market within the European context.
2) during the mobility, the cooperative approach will be focused on the best actualization and development of the training process and the validation of the achieved results according to the principles established by the European Charter.
The labour market of the reference sectors has become more and more European. Companies are in need of professionals with key skills that are functional to specific rules.