Preparing children to be engaged and responsible global citizens

April 24, 2017

Armando Persico, a teacher in Italy, has a dream: to improve the teaching profession and offer apprenticeship and entrepreneurship opportunities to all students.

I have a dream… to improve the teaching profession and offer apprenticeship and entrepreneurship opportunities to all students.

As a coordinator of the Italian version of the ‘dual system apprenticeship’ model, I introduced the first Italian vocational ‘management’ path. This is an exciting challenge for the Ikaros Foundation vocational schools where I work. My role is to coordinate 250 younger colleagues (regardless of their subjects) and introduce them to teaching entrepreneurship and providing training.

Together with teachers from those schools, we involve more than 2,000 students, from secondary vocational and university level education, in the following areas of study: business, ICT, electrical, electronic, hairdressing, cosmetology, culinary, pastry-making, agricultural, mechanical, graphic design and logistics.

At Ikaros Foundation, we are committed to reviving and promoting the vocational education system. We aim to make it evolve from being a ‘last resort’ choice before students join the ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) club – as it is the Italian tradition – to a conscious and positive choice. The so-called ‘artisan revival’ pathway is now facilitated thanks to an improved professional teachers’ development and entrepreneurship education. It’s a fantastic pioneering model of excellence in Lombardy and easily extended to all of Italy.

I also have another important dream. I would like to establish a Foundation (together with local and national bodies) to promote the creation of start-ups by focusing on three specific target groups: vocational schools, students and people in need. Its objective would be to allocate, for a decade, 10,000 EUR annually to 10 Italian vocational schools. Those schools will be selected based on their offerings of specialised courses in the field of ‘human services’. The money will be used to provide tools and raw materials to the start-ups created by the students. Their startup will be in line with their field of study and will benefit disadvantaged people in the area, at affordable rates.

This foundation represents a win-win solution for everyone! Students wil gain new entrepreneurial and technical skills, will learn how to run a business and may even make a small profit for the services they deliver while they are studying. Society will see the number of young people in a NEET situation decrease and people in need will feel more included. Supporting businesses will themselves contribute to empower their future customers or employees. Furthermore, vocational schools will bring innovation by offering a new method of teaching vocational subjects which will encourage and motivate both its students and teachers; engaged in new, modern and effective learning processes.