The “La Strada” Cooperative training course help youngsters who risk leaving school too early to restore confidence in their abilities.
Pupils dropping out of school is an alarming phenomenon: some 3,500 middle school pupils and over 30,000 students in the early years of high school are at risk of giving up on their education every year (Source: MIUR – 2013 report on school dropout rates by Codici).
In the absence of an education, a vulnerable home situation can lead students to enter employment too early without sufficient experience. This results not only in an unqualified and even exploited workforce, but also the loss of resources and potential: young people are more likely to find themselves without firm reference points and to “lose themselves” in worrying social contexts.
The “Scuola Bottega” project, run by the La Strada Cooperative, is aimed at children who are at risk of dropping out of school. It helps them obtain their middle school diploma by alternating education with work placements, sports and professional experience.
The training pathway enables youngsters to regain confidence in their abilities and return to education or enter employment with a greater understanding of what it entails.
Every year the project runs two classes, divided by age group: one for “junior” students (aged 14-15), and one for “senior” students (aged 16-17).
An agreement is made with students’ schools for all those still in compulsory education: students are still formally enrolled and are required to sit their end-of-year exams. For all other pupils, arrangements are made with the local CPIA office (Provincial Adult Education Department/Regional Education Office).
An Educational Project is drawn up for every young person and signed by 4 parties: the school (middle school or CPIA); the family; Scuola Bottega and the student. Throughout the process students are supported by multi-disciplinary staff and specialist tutors.
Classroom teaching is combined with practical workshops, with the emphasis on carpentry skills taught by a master craftsman.
Following individual induction sessions, each student is placed on an apprenticeship with companies and craft firms, who are asked to guide them and assess their achievements.
As part of the project, Fondazione Milan sponsors the sports training programme, which is run by experts in association with the course tutors. The activities are designed to help students understand themselves better, improve their skills and boost their confidence. Sport gives young people a chance to put their potential and their limits to the test while experiencing the relationships and dynamics of a group or team.
“Scuola Bottega” welcomes young people aged 14-17 resident in the Province of Milan who are still in compulsory education or training and come from challenging backgrounds.
Most of the students have grown up in a difficult family context (no help with their schooling, a lack of financial and cultural resources) or are unaccompanied non-Italian minors. They often have very low self-esteem, are unstable emotionally, have behavioural difficulties and lack self-control in social situations. Some of them have learning difficulties, are occasional drug users or are involved in petty crime.
27 young people are enrolled in the “Scuola Bottega” project for the 2015-2016 school year. There are two classes:
The project is run by the La Strada Social Cooperative. Since its launch in 1993, it has been planning, organising and operating social care and educational projects and services aimed at vulnerable children and adults, particularly young people at risk; minors who have suffered abuse; single mothers and separated fathers.
Fondazione Milan supports the sports-oriented side of the project. It is run by experts who work alongside the project tutors throughout the school year.
The project is also made possible through the generous contribution of Fondazione Pupi and Bank of New York Mellon.