By: Mattia Fasana (Cometa Formazione)
A school with a strong mission
Among the partners of the Tracktion project is Cometa Formazione, a VET school founded in 2003 in Lake Como, continuing the experience of two families who, for some years already, fostered children in their homes. The growth of the children has led to the need to continue the educational pathway started at home through job training. Two are the pillars that have built this school: welcoming every person the way he/ she is, and the consequent need to create the best learning pathway that helps each student to grow entirely as a person and, consequently, be protagonist of its own live by entering the world of work.
Everything in Cometa is characterized by a strong mission, which always needs to be guarded, revitalized and put to the test of facts. For this reason, since many years, Cometa has been interested in obtaining more and more precise data regarding the employability of former students: it is clear, in fact, that if we discovered that the majority of our students, once they have completed their studies, remain at home to do nothing we should deeply question ourselves about the effectiveness of our training proposal.
Tracking graduates: Moving from snapshots to moving pictures
Fortunately, at the moment the employment rate of our former students encourages us to continue our pathway; however, we hope to improve more and more our educational offer. For this reason, the process and the survey that we started to elaborate within the Tracktion project appear as a great opportunity to learn more about the real situation of students who are about to leave our school and those who already graduated. A process that, as written in the article “Tracking soon-to-be graduates: So, what’s the point?” , is not limited to collecting the employment data of students who have already graduated, but it also tries to investigate the expectations and the desires of students who are about to reach the qualification.
Project partners aim at obtaining not merely quantitative data (too interpretable by everyone), but also qualitative data, in order to investigate the importance of certain preconditions (e.g. place of birth, parents occupation), the perception of importance of the training received, the expectations at the time of starting and finishing the school. Therefore, Tracktion is a project that, in sharing experiences with other European partners allows us to have a more comprehensive view of what happens in our school’s daily life and that many times, taken by the quantity and speed of requests, we risk not to observe adequately.
In fact, the tracking tool project partners are developing can be seen more as a video-camera than a camera: the video-camera itself is mobile and allows us to capture a moment in its entirety and to observe the same phenomenon from different points of view. The camera, on the other hand, blocks the image, without being able to depart from another point of view.
Practically, the pre-graduation survey, combined with the post-graduation questionnaire, allows this overall and multi-faceted vision, which permits us to be more familiar with what happens during school education and afterwards.
What’s next? Building stronger alumni relations
There is one final aspect among the objectives of the project, which has yet to be adequately discussed by the partners, but surely is of great importance for the development of a school like ours: the creation of a community of alumni. During compulsory education, in fact, students spend a lot of time at school, often finding a possibility of growth that goes beyond the merely educational aspect. In Cometa we noticed a sort of enlargement of the experience of families, which was the starting point of our school project. Education is part of a youngsters’ normal evolution but once they graduate it is no longer part of their life. The risk, however, is that youngsters loose an important reference point while they are still not sufficiently matured. If the bond with Cometa continues, alumni would have the possibility of still having a reference point. Cometa would support alumni in the disorienting working reality.
There is also a second aspect, practical and extremely useful: a structured and well-trained network of alumni would facilitate the work of the placement office. There are some moments of the year when the office receives a greater number of job offers than the candidates it can present. If there was a tool that could quickly relate these offers to the entire alumni network, the placement activity would be easier, faster, more effective and could be expanded to a greater number of people.
In conclusion, it is clear that the focus of the Tracktion project, in spite of appearances, is not just to develop new practices within the institutions, rather the advantage of the students who enroll in the schools. The advantage of new generations is that, building themselves as best as they can, leads them to improve the place they inhabit, even that Europe that is today so battered.