T: Youth Employment PartnerSHIP creates a network of young researchers
Meet Pietro Ponti, a PhD student in Economics from the University of Milan-Bicocca. He holds an MSc degree in Economics from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, where he also worked as a research assistant on a project regarding the relationship between tertiary education supply and industrial innovation at the local level.
Pietro was a part of a research team at the Institute for Structural Research (IBS) within Youth Employment PartnerSHIP project. The project aims at developing a transnational research network on youth employment policies. Pietro has collected his remarks on several aspects of his stay in Warsaw – the research quality, concerning the youth unemployment, comparison between present situation in Poland and Italy in this respect and city of Warsaw. Find what Pietro has to say about these!
Research experience at IBS, Warsaw
First I was positively surprised by the dynamism of the city of Warsaw and of the people I met. In addition, I was also very happy about the working environment at IBS, as well as by the com presence of scientific research and policy-oriented analysis.
The opportunity of this internship was brought to my attention by professors I worked with during research. The subject was also in line with my thesis. The topics of the internship were of my interest, and I was thrilled I could get to know better a country I had visited only once before.
I enjoyed very much the city of Warsaw, where IBS is located. I had the sense that this place is dynamic, eager to move forward and that has a lot to offer in terms of opportunities. Many times I thought that my country would have a lot to learn from the way certain things are done there. I really hope I will have the chance to come back there and hopefully spend some more time in Warsaw and Poland in general. I had a great time there.
Fund for Youth Unemployment
Before starting the internship, I have never heard about the Fund. After my experience during internship in the Youth Employment PartnerSHIP project, I may say that the tools offered by the project are undoubtedly remarkable and potentially very effective. In order to make the most out of them, I think it is fundamental to be careful about their proper implementation and enforcement. Cross-country contamination and sharing of best practices could help a lot in that sense.
NEET’s in Italy
The situation in my country is very heterogeneous, under many viewpoints. On one hand, I don’t know anybody who was unable to find a job from the people I met during my studies before the PhD. On the other hand, however, this is far from being the case for thousands of other young Italians all over the country. What strikes (and saddens) me the most is the impressive amount of young people who are not involved in any form of employment, education or training. Moreover, it is not rare that even those who have a job are confronted with issues such as low salaries, fixed-term contracts of any kind, and so on: it’s easy to understand that making medium-to-long-term plans (such as buying a house, starting a family, starting a new business, …) is not easy, then. These are complex problems, often eradicated in the past; as such, they call for solutions that are far from being easy or straightforward.
Despite being characterized by many downsides and issues, our schooling system can be very formative for “good” students, meaning those who follow a path oriented towards tertiary education. This is not the case for students who are more oriented to learning a job: the perception of vocational education as less valuable than other alternatives has made vocational schools an option people settle for.
Teachers recruitment mechanisms and careers do not facilitate recruiting young, capable and motivated teachers, who could be adequately equipped to face nowadays’ educational challenges.
Back in the days, technical and vocational education were based on a closed relationship between schools and firms at the local level (which led to the birth of remarkable educational institutions and also of occupational “fast tracks” for graduates). These relationships have weakened, but have given rise to problems for both parties (impoverishment of curricula, lack of workforce), and for students.
Pandemic and it’s results for the labor market in Italy
When the pandemic stroke, the government imposed a ban on layoffs; hence, firms didn’t renew many fixed-term contract or didn’t activate new ones; seasonal jobs were cut to the minimum too. As you can imagine, these sorts of contracts were mainly addressing the youth, hence they had a big impact on young people trying to enter the job market. National statistics on the last couple of months seem encouraging, though. I hope we could keep up that way.