ITALY | Lucca Paper Educational District – Paper technology working group

Lucca paper district plays a strategic role in the Italian national industry, with more than 100 companies and a strong connection with the territory, and with a strong commitment to the educational world.
During the last decades, thanks to the dedication, engagement and cooperation between the industrial sector, university, high technical institutes and Confindustria Toscana Nord – the local branch of the National Industry Association – they have been able to build an extraordinary technical education system. The general purpose is to train young people transmitting them technical knowledge and to attract and retain skilled young workers in the pulp and paper industry.
By building a structed educational system, that is organized through different levels, they work with the aim of transferring and increasing the professional skills and expertise of the young people, in order to help them obtaining high level competences that are valuable for the paper industry. These educational initiatives are part of a complex system, starting from the guidance seminars organized in the middle school, to technical high school courses specifically designed on pulp and paper industry needs, to the higher level of university education.

Brief description of the best practice:
A Paper Technology Working Group project has the goal to create/reinforce the link between education and industry, making both sides aware of the respective needs. The aim of the project is to promote the awareness of the skills required by young people in the professional world and to connect students, teachers, families and companies in order to facilitate young peoples’ choice in terms of training and work paths. The challenge concerns both schools and companies.
The former working on the skills that are functional to the professional world and acting to renew the methodological approach favouring interdisciplinarity, laboratory teaching, problem solving, project work and self-entrepreneurship. The latter becoming more focused on the educational aspect, transmitting to the young people skills and tasks required in the daily job.
The meetings are also focused on adapting the school programmes to the industry needs in order to make the training plan much more suitable to the knowledge and skills required in the workplace.
Another activity of the project consists in career counselling events planned during the year for the middle school and high school students.
The working group organises also the convention “Carta Bianca al tuo Futuro” (Carte blanche to your Future), a conference open to the students, their families, stakeholders and dedicated to promotet the leading role of the paper sector in the local territory also in terms of job opportunities.

Key stakeholders:
– Teachers
– Pulp and paper companies
– Students

Specific Benefits:
– For teachers: to encourage students when choosing their school and training path, to have a better knowledge of the different job roles and of the training needed to be able to access them and, more generally, to support more conscious life choices with respect to their aspirations and vocations and to the real opportunities and demands coming from the business world
– For companies: The initiative allows the enterprise to be more recognisable within the territory, promoting its social role and its training function. Opening its doors to the school means making itself known to students, their teachers and their families, and to be an active player in defining what is actually taught to the next generation. A stronger relationship is thus created between the company and the local area in which it operates
– For students: the activity aims to encourage young people to choose their training and work paths with awareness and competence

Conditions for success:
– Companies involvement in terms of technical human resources
– Strong relationship between teachers and companies
– Strong local promotional activities to sponsor the initiatives