Valditara announces the reform of the PCTOs, but what would the students want? Training and safety first

Security and training: these are the two pillars at the basis of the imminent reform of the PCTO – Pathways for Transversal Skills and Orientation – and of school-work alternation in general, on which the Minister of Education and Merit, Giuseppe Valditara.

The Table just started with the Ministry of Labour precisely aims to reformulate the PCTO legislation from the point of view of student safety in the places of internship. A revision of the system that also aims to make the training of students regarding workplace safety and that of school and company tutors central, two fundamental figures in carrying out the projects. A mission which, if successfully completed, will certainly meet with the favors of those concerned. Given that, as evidenced by a survey recently conducted by the portal on a sample of 2,500 students in the last three years of high school (the period in which the PCTOs take place), those just described are the main variables to consider in order to distinguish a good internship.

PCTO, the proposals of Minister Valditara

Back to the current situationto begin with, Minister Valditara intends to put his hand on the compensation legislation, at the center of numerous controversies in recent days for the failure to compensate the family of Giuliano De Seta, a student who died during an internship in the company last September. “However, this change is not enough, it is also and above all necessary to prevent”, said the Minister who then specified: “From this point of view, we need to invest more in student training to create a culture of safety in the workplace, also involving employers and trade unions, and guarantee specific training for young people on alternating school-work courses on safety based on the activities they will carry out”.

The number one in Viale Trastevere does not question the educational usefulness of PCTOs but he wants to revise some points. First of all, it wants to invest more in student training “to create a culture of safety in the workplace, also involving employers and trade unions, and guarantee specific training on safety for young people who undertake alternating school-work courses based on the activities they will carry out”. Central too “the training of the school tutor and that of the company tutor, who must coordinate in constant comparison”. A change of course that passes through three proposals put forward by Valditara: “First of all, it is necessary to provide platforms, also on a territorial basis by the regional school offices, with the task of providing the list of selected and certified companies for carrying out the PCTOs, within clear framework protocols”. Furthermore, according to what the Minister reveals, the schools will have to find “a list of information and certifications that schools must acquire from companies before signing and must subsequently verify”. Finally, the Minister proposes restarting the Committee for the monitoring and evaluation of school-work alternation – made up of representatives of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Crafts, Agriculture, Workers and Employers work – essential for monitoring the quality of the Paths.

PCTO, how should it be? In presence, training and consistent with the studies carried out

But to think that PCTOs need a makeover they are above all the students involved in the school-work alternation. The first data that emerges from the survey mentioned at the beginning is that the interns appreciated the alternation more when it was carried out for real working realities (public or private) and not “simulated” at school: tAmong those who have done it directly in the field, the approval rating is 66%. But this is only the starting point. In fact, students also need the activities to be carried out face-to-face. The students who have carried out the PCTOs totally remotely, in fact, judge the experience as bad: fortunately it is a small minority, just 22%.

Furthermore, once you arrive at the company, students want to touch the working processes first hand. Being involved in the main activities is a fundamental requirement for 67% of the interviewees: more than 2 out of 3 students. Even better if everything is preceded by adequate theoretical-practical training: this is also another key requirement according to the opinion of the students. Consequently, satisfaction with the quality of the experience was lower among those who received only a theoretical explanation: in this case only 18% said they were happy with the internship. The approval rating among students who performed marginal tasks (9%) and among those who were set aside “to watch” (6%) was even less. But most of all, students dream of an internship in line with their interests and studies: it is no coincidence that students who have had this opportunity judge – in 9 cases out of 10 – the experience as positive.

The tutor, a key figure in the school-work alternation

Another essential prerogative – here too the students seem to be in line with Minister Valditara – is the constant presence of a company tutor, which supports the interns throughout the alternation. It is a theoretically obligatory figure but that girls and boys have not always had the good fortune to have next to them. Only 40% of the interviewees received regular assistance, while 30% have never even known him. Yet the fact that the presence of the company tutor is a key element is a fact: those who judged the alternance experience positively – in almost 6 out of 10 cases – were able to benefit from the advice of a company tutor.

Security, students online with Valditara

Another field in which students are in tune with Valditara is that of safety in the workplace. A theme that has been held throughout 2022 and that these days he returned to the limelight for the case of the failure to compensate the De Seta family. Data from show that 80% of students who performed practical tasks felt safe during the activities. However, the same cannot be said for 20% of those interviewed who instead feared being in danger on more than one occasion during the school-work alternation. Although in the end, fortunately, 86% of interns judged the work environment in which they worked to be safe.

Valditara announces the reform of the PCTOs, but what would the students want? Training and safety first