Case studies Amleto: To be or not to be
Amleto: To be or not to be
Amleto: To be or not to be

Amleto: To be or not to be (6)

Motto: I never thought that I could have such a big satisfaction at a professional level.

Demographic and biographical Characteristics

Amleto is 29 years old and he is from Naples, but he has lived in Bologna for 5 years. His family consists of a father who is a chef, a housewife mother and two unemployed brothers (22 and 25 years). Amleto has a passion for art, culture, in particular for painting. In his free time he paints and surfs the Internet trying to use different programs to create some digital painting pictures. He is also interested in video games, comics and social networks, and discussion forums about art exhibitions and events.


Educational and transitional pathways

Amleto attends a vocational school in the field of "Restaurant and catering industry”. At the age of 17 he finishes the school and starts working as help-cook with his father. At the same time Amleto keeps alive his passion for art, culture and painting, feeling that his professional satisfaction needs to be enriched through art as well. At the age of 24 he makes the decision to move from Naples to Bologna, because he heard that Bologna city is rich in art, cultural activities and events. He wants to improve his skills in these fields too and wishes to start a new professional career. He also realizes he needs a new and stimulating social life. His parents are really worried about his decision and they persuade Amleto not to move to Bologna. Despite his parents’ recommendations, Amleto moves to Bologna, rents a room and works occasionally in restaurants as help-chef. At the same time he starts to attend art galleries and events where he meets new people and gets to know about projects. He starts to expose few of his creations in Bologna. He also makes an appointment with the employment office of Bologna because, thanks to social forums on the internet, he gets to know there is a “professional orientation office”. Here you can find support and help to understand better your professional plans and you can discuss with training expertises about what kind of training courses and experiences you could need to improve your competences and skills.

Amleto feels that art and social life are his main interests at the moment and he wants to focus on them. The professional orientation office doesn’t give Amleto any concrete help in order to find a new job and employment in the art or social field. However, thanks to this meeting Amleto understands his professional project: to create a laboratory where art and culture can be used as social therapy for helping people to learn how to express out emotions, creativity and passions. He still works as help-chef occasionally during the weekend to pay for his board in Bologna. He decides that he needs to attend some specific social and art training courses but no interesting announcements and proposals seem suitable for what Amleto wants to carry out. One day, walking through the city, he finds a laboratory of painting. The owner is an old man (68 years) who has been working as a painter for 30 years. Amleto asks him for an unpaid stage in order to learn how to manage a gallery and laboratory and also some new painting techniques and approaches in exchange for some help with heavy duties the old man cannot do anymore. The old man accepts and Amleto for 3 days a week goes to his laboratory for six months. During this time Amleto is always active on the Internet, taking part in social discussion forums and thanks to the Employment Office’s Newsletters he finds out about a training course to become social assistant.

Thus after an interview he starts to attend that course in the morning. Now Amleto goes to the course every mornings, works occasionally in the evening as cook and attends the old painting laboratory. At the end of 8 months of “social assistant course”, Amlet is employed at S. Orsola Hospital in Bologna as social assistant, organizing and managing art workshop for the hospital’s patients such as children and adults who need to rehabilitate social and communication skills. Amleto never thought this opportunity could give him such a big satisfaction at personal and professional level. One day perhaps he will open his own art and culture laboratory.

Motivations and Strategies

Since his childhood Amleto has been a curious child with a big eagerness and ability to learn. Despite their plain and simple life, his parents motivated him to go to school and learn more than what they could when they were young. Thanks to the internet and a group of friends living in other cities Amleto understood that in the world there are other interesting opportunities. From the age of 17 to 25 Amleto focus in understanding in depth what we wanted to do and then he tried to plan and fulfil his dreams. The main strategy adopted by Amleto has been to collect and put together different information, news and experiences from many different people in order to figure out his plans. He was not sure whether his plan would have worked or not but he decided to give it a chance anyway despite his family disagreement. This way Amleto has gained much self-esteem and courage. Another of Amleto’ strategy has been to learn by himself how to use ICT, especially social and communication forums and networks on the internet in order to find information in what he was interested. Moreover, another important skill has been also to focus on different opportunities at the same time, calculating very well before leaving a learning experience for another one. This aspect allowed Almeto to use different learning experiences (as formal, informal and non formal), integrate each other and learn from each one of them.

Ad hoc learning scenarios

A period for looking for his own way

Amleto spent many years working with his father and using and developing his school learning experience. He could be satisfied with his employment taking into consideration that most people and young workers of his age in Naples are unemployed. But thanks to discussions and meetings with his friends and in social networks on the Internet about art events and their management Amleto put his current situation into question and started to think about his future. He also spent many years thinking to all the possible chances as he was not sure they would have improved his life. He received great support from the group of his friends and from the internet users. He spoke to his family about his plans but their parents soon disagreed with Amlet’s decision to move to Bologna. For some time he has lived with confusion in his mind, trying to understand how to change the situation. He strongly reacted focusing his effort on looking for information, news, opportunities in the field of art and culture in Italy. His strong motivation to find his own way was the drive that made him to decide to move from a situation to another one.

A period for building up his own future

Amleto took time to reflect and learn by himself what was the best experience for him. He found in his friends the right support and courage to believe in himself and in his dreams although some low-motivation feelings emerged from time to time. He always thought that each experience would be relevant and crucial to take the following steps. Experience after experience he designed and then built up his plans and he never separated different learning opportunities. He understood that every different environment (as his work during the evening as chef-cook, the meetings at the Bologna employment office, the old painting laboratory, the art-culture galleries and events and also the training course for social assistant) were needed to build up his project. For him it was really clear where he wanted to arrive but he didn’t know how. Thanks to all these experiences he also learnt how. For example: 1. After Bologna Employment Office’s meeting Amleto got a deeper understanding of the competences and skills he had and the ones he still needs to develop for his future projects. 2. Through the painter’s situation Amleto has learnt new painting techniques and also found out that painting together with somebody else means sharing emotions, feelings and creativity. Besides, Amleto developed management and organizational skills.

Through this story we can see different transitional learning experiences which return partly to some different learning scenarios: vocational school (at the age of 17 years in the field of Restaurant and Catering Industry), work experience as help-cook with his father (from the age of 17 to 24 years), non formal learning experiences (living alone in Bologna, attending galleries and art events, surfing on the web and discussing with group of peers), unpaid internship (during the months spent in the laboratory with the old painter) and vocational training (the course for social assistant). The transitional situations have been many and at different levels, personal and professional: from his family connection to an autonomous decision-making process, from Naples to Bologna, from a previous job to an unknown professional career, from a employment to a new training experiences. The integration of these different situations and environment (transitional and learning scenarios) has been fundamental to achieve the final professional profile. All competences and skills developed in above-mentioned learning opportunities allowed Amleto to improve and take on further challenges.

Support Services used

Amleto used an acknowledged support service as Bologna Employment Office and its professional orientation department dedicated to young and adult workers in order to develop and supply a “competences balance process”. It has been really useful and significant for Amleto who has achieved a better awareness about his plans and potentials. However from this support service he didn’t receive any concrete help to find a new job or employment corresponding to his wishes. Amleto also used other support services less acknowledged as official ones. For example the group of friends and peers, social forums and networks on the internet, the old man from the painting laboratory and also those people met during cultural events and happenings. From all these experiences Amleto received a sort of guidance in order to climb further steps in his professional career. Amleto missed a lot the support and motivation from his family.

Learning type

Self-learning and self-management: Amleto used all his personal abilities to improve his skills and manage different information and opportunities. Amleto also spent days and days to learn by himself how to use ICT, web 2.0 tools and digital painting programs.

Learning sharing at two levels: peer and intergenerational learning. (non formal learning) Amleto asked a group of friends and internet peer users for help. He shared with them information, doubts and dreams in order to understand how to proceed with his plans. He received inputs and some advice but above all motivational and emotional support and also strategies to make the best choice. Amleto also gave some advice to some people who wanted to do the same things as Amleto did. Thanks to the exchange with the old painter he learnt how to organize a traditional art laboratory, taking in account that the old owner’s experience needed to be updated to today’s requirements and technologies. The old man got the opportunity to discover the digital painting and the virtual art laboratories on the internet.

Formal learning: Amleto attended two different learning environments that we can define as formal places for learning. Amleto took part in some meetings in a structured process of balance of competences supplied by the professional orientation department of Bologna Employment Office. Amleto had the opportunity to analyze his actual skills and competences reflecting about which ones he needed to improve. Thanks to this learning process he rose his awareness about his plans and actions. The other formal learning experience (the training course for social assistant provided by the Bologna S. Orsola Hospital) played an important role for him in order to find a good new employment.

Information and Communication Technologies

Amleto used all possible ICT and web 2.0 tools. In particular he was registered in different social networks as Facebook, Second Life and MSN Community and others. He took part in the web 2.0 digital environments in an active way, suggesting reflections and inputs and also communicating and sharing different transitional experiences. He also used the internet to get information and news about cultural events, employments’ offers and training opportunities. He used communication tools as Skype to be in touch with his friends in Naples and around Italy.