Case studies Marco: Don't stop learning
Marco: Don't stop learning
Marco: Don't stop learning

Marco: Don't stop learning (6)

Motto: if you have the right competences you can choose and manage your role and opportunities for your life.

Demographic and biographical Characteristics

Marco is 19 years old. He lives in Modena with his parents and younger sister. Marco likes his life and he is eager to start working because he wants to live alone and to be economically independent from his family. He likes spending time with friends and meeting them after school or during the weekend to go to the cinema or to dance. Marco has a passion for sports and he often plays football with his friends. He is also interested in the history of cinema and he dreams to become a movie director one day. He produces short movies with his video phone and he does it for fun when he goes out with his friends.


Educational and transitional pathways

Marco attends the vocational school to become a surveyor. After 5 years he graduates and now he has to decide how to go ahead. He is sure that he wants to go to work and thus he starts to look for an employment. His parents suggest that he take in consideration university in order to improve his skills and competences and also to be more qualified for today’s job market. He has a different opinion, nevertheless he takes part in an event, “Modena University Open-Day”, and attends the speech session dedicated to civil and structural engineering. After this meeting Marco is still sure that he wants to work for now and maybe take into account a further university experience. Marco then makes an appointment at the Employment Office to register his name, but he is aware he needs to seek a job also through personal contacts. Thanks to a professor, Marco receives some enterprises’ contacts and does some interviews. After two months he gets a job as a part-time surveyor. He starts working with a team of three colleagues: two young people of 27 (Luca) and 25 (Andrea) and an older (Mario-55).

The three young employees (Marco and the other two) enter this company at the same time. They are in charge of the “Houses’ Session” under the supervision of the older employer (Mario) who has been working here for 35 years. After six months the two colleagues (Luca and Andrea) are offered a full-time contract as the company needs their work. Marco asks the same for himself because he knows that he is doing a good work with a lot of motivation and results. The director recognizes Marco’s potentials but he cannot offer Marco the same pay as the other two colleagues are engineers, they can design in 3D using different softwares and CAT architecture program. They also can speak English and this is useful with foreign customers. Marco doesn’t have the above mentioned competences. He is confused because for him the learning time is over. Mario, the older colleague, knows well how he feels because he was in the same situation when he was young. Thus Mario tells Marco that he has seen many young professionals to join the company and succeed in their professional careers while he still has the same role and task: to help young people to enter into the enterprise’s organisation. This happens because Mario doesn’t have any certification, but now he has a long experience thanks to all the years in this enterprise. Mario is now essential for the organizations, but he tries to explain and show Marco how he should take time to learn more and improve some skills and competence.

After one year on the basis of his mentor’s advice, Marco decides to keep working part-time and also to attend a course to learn how to use new programs and software to design houses and buildings. The course lasts 8 months and is hold by an adult vocational training agency. Not happy enough, for two days a week Marco goes to an English course because most of design programs are in English and he wants to improve his skills, his professional career and thus his life. In addition Marco learns on his own how to make videos through a video-maker software. At the enterprise Marco is now in charge to record, make and upload his recording of houses and other buildings for the enterprise’s web site. Few months later Marco achieves a full time employment and he also moves from his family’s house to his own flat. Now he doesn’t want to stop learning.

Motivations and Strategies

At the beginning of his transitional situation Marco is completely determined to finish school and go to work. His motivations are different now, but above all he liked to be economically independent and he wanted to start living a grown-up life. He doesn’t have a big passion for school, although he always have had good marks. His strategies are common with many young people who are looking for an employment after school.

Usually the steps are: 1. To make a subscription at the Employment Office without a consolidate hope to get a job. 2. To spread around a sort of “tam-tam” (pass the word) among known connections and personal contacts.

We also can identify another strategy that Marco adopted: to listen to his mentor’s experience and share with him a long time during work. If Marco didn’t pay attention to him, Marco would be still there in the same conditions as when entered the job. In this case the organisation’s mentor played a fundamental role in the development of Marco’ transition. Marco had the opportunity to touch with hand what Mario had lived and what Mario had to give up in his life. Despite Marco was worried and confused about his beginning situation at work he tried to trust his mentor’s advice in order to have a quicker development of his professional career. The will to climb the career ladder was driven by the motivation of improving his life. Thanks to the mentor’s support and new learning experiences Marco became more self confident and started suggesting new activities for the organization, such as enhancing the company’s website with some videos.

At the end of this transitional experience Marco felt more motivated, respected and acknowledge as a qualified surveyor. This feeling became a new strategy for him to make more visible his professional value.

Ad hoc learning scenarios

In this study case the workplace is the main learning environment. Marco did a practical experience that changed his life. First of all Marco entered his job without his parents’ approval as they preferred to have Marco at university. Then he had to face quickly the comparison with two colleagues who obtained advancement in a few months. Then Marco had to accept to stay at work only with a part-time contract as a new enter for one year. Marco had a learning experience at personal and professional level. He made his own decision to go to work, he faced the situation and thanks to the people met at work he went ahead to train and qualify himself. Through this above-mentioned comparison with his mentor and colleagues Marco also became more aware about the need to keep learning for improving his career and although he is not a “school-type” he listed to the mentor’s advice to attend an updating and training course. But Marco also decided to use the situation of work to understand and analyze how much he had to learn yet. It shows how environments of work and training can be fundamental together in order to motivate a learner to improve him/herself and increase his/her opportunities. To be able to transfer skills from a professional situation to a training activity and vice versa means to be able to use and transfer ability and knowledge in all environments a learner lives.

Support Services used

Marco made an attempt with the Employment office but he didn’t achieve any result complying with what he was looking for. Marco received more support from his school professor to find a personal network. But the figure and role of his mentor (Mario) helped Marco more than any other support service. Thanks to his mentor’s experience of learning sharing Marco figured out clearly the way to achieve his aims. Marco received from his mentor a sort of orientation in order to understand how to design his plans and professional career to have a better life in line with his dreams. The relation with the enterprise’s mentor supported Marco in terms of saving time and professional frustration. Mario did more than that: he suggested Marco what skills and competence to develop to have a better role in the company.

Learning type

Self-learning: Marco was determined to leave school and go to work. He used his abilities to learn quickly at work and to understand that he wanted to change something in his life. He also learnt on his own how to use new programs to make videos and propose it to his manager.

Learning sharing by practical experience: intergenerational in formal learning Marco had the interesting opportunity to learn from his mentor, spending with him a long time at work and sharing all personal aspects regarding his personal and professional life. The enterprise’s mentor was there to support Marco in order to introduce him into the organization but this relationship went above the professional sphere. He gave personal advice on the grounds of his own similar work experience and Marco learned to apply the experiences of his mentor to his own situation: Marco understood that he needed more competences than those he thought he had, and he also focused his efforts to choose a vocational adult training to carry out this change.

Formal learning: Marco attended a vocational school to become a surveyor but this experience didn’t give Marco enough competences to carry out his plans. Thanks to the job experience Marco understood that he had to return to study. The agency of vocational adult learning offered Marco the opportunity to improve some specific knowledge and skills that Marco needed at work. Marco recognized that it was necessary not to stop learning and studying.

Information and Communication Technologies

Marco is not a familiar user of ICT. He likes movies and short-films so much that he decided to learn by himself how to make them after recording them on the phone. For fun he has a channel on Youtube where he can exchange and share different opinions with others short-video makers and also with a community of them. Marco thinks that if G8WAY wants to support people to exchange and go through different transitional situations, the web portal needs to show and report different experiences for different ages. The transitional experiences can differ greatly between learners, therefore it is important that different users can select them according to an age range. Each age often corresponds to different needs, situations, expectations, cultural and social background at national level.