The Milan Hub project Improve is the first inter-generational critical thinking exercise in Milan aimed at identifying the impacts generated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution on future generations. The project focuses on unemployment, the demand of new skills by the job market and on emerging work challenges. Improve leverages the Global Shapers network to identify and invite topic experts to run the workshops.
Since 2017, over 100 workshops have been organized for university and high school students in partnership with the United Nation's Local Pathways Fellowship, Catholic University and Politecnico di Milano in Milan, il Salone dello Studente, Fondazione RUI, ELIS and Talents Venture. The workshops have taken place in Milan, Rome, Turin, Genoa, Palermo, Naples, Matera, Sicily, Florence and many more cities in Italy. The project features over 30 workshop topics, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 4IR and focused on issues such as The Future of Healthcare, Impact Investing, Smart Agriculture and Nutrition and Smart Cities. Around 6,500 students and young practitioners participated, as well as 20 topic experts.
In particular, since January 2018 the project has led a series of workshops targeting high school students. The hub put in place a pilot collaboration with the Leonardo Scientific High School in Milan, consisting of a series of eight interactive workshops per class per year. The pilot provided 16-17-year-old students with basic knowledge on a series of sustainability and technology topics linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well with practical skills useful to finding a job in key topics.
In 2018-2019, the project scaled-up throughout Italy, with more than 50 workshops organized across the peninsula with the help of the Turin, Genoa and Palermo Hubs. In 2019, several collaborations were concluded with high-standing organizations in Italy involved in the education space, such as Fondazione RUI, ELIS, Salone dello Studente...
Since January 2020, also the Florence and Trento Hubs have started collaborating with the Milan one for the scale-up of the Project.
In June 2020 Improve kickstarted a brand new collaboration with Fondazione RUI for its "Universitas" project, aimed at providing coaching and mentoring to high school students, unable to pick their university curricula. This has enabled Improve to further diversify its offering and to remain active all year long, since the project will run from June to September and will later continue during the year with the traditional Improve activities in university residences.
RESPONSE TO THE COVID CRISIS
Once the COVID crisis sparked in Italy, we switched our workshops to a digital form and started working on the following:
offering webinars to high school and university students, maintaining an average of 2 webinars per week since the crisis started, involving around 50-100 students per webinar as well as their teachers. Such workshops have been held both in Milan and in other Italian cities, collaborating with the existing partners and opening to new collaborations with further organizations. These have been also held by members of the Florence and Genoa Hubs in their cities;
We have gathered more than 25 written contributions (and counting) from Shapers at the Milan, Turin, Genoa, Trento and Florence hubs for our book to be published with Talents Venture. Such book is intended to become the first Orientation Guide for high-school students in Italy aimed at providing them with insights, statistics and information on how to choose their best university and career paths. It should be published on a free digital version, as well as on a paper version that will help us fund some other project stream activities. Right now the Talents Ventures team is editing the contributions and we will start registering a series of podcasts on the future of work and the main actual topics covered by Improve in the upcoming weeks. In particular, each of the Shapers contributing to writing the texts will also register a podcast in which they will describe their personal academic and professional paths. After a first wave of contributions will be completed, we will proceed with a second wave of written texts and podcasts involving further shapers. This will provide us with further visibility and create positive synergies with the main project funnel (workshops), since Talents Venture has over 40,000 readers of their guides;
- The podcasts will be accompanied with a series of videos to be published on our Milan GS website, as well as on the Improve digital platform we are working on. Again, the topics covered are the ones Improve focuses on (you can find a list in the grant application presentation). Here Alessandro Panerai's interview (in Italian) as an example. As such, we aim at registering around 50 videos by the end of the summer, depending on when the lockdown in Italy ends. The multi-channel strategy outlined in the previous points is of course intended to maximise the coverage and attractiveness of our education activities;
Indeed, we have been asked by our partner Salone dello Studente to start registering webinars and short videos to be uploaded on their website (250K students reach) as to highlight potential physical and digital workshop opportunities once the COVID crisis ends. The first videos are available here. Our dedicated page on the website is this one.