Leonardo and School4Life 2.0, helping the young generations in their journey towards the future

11 July 2023

Leonardo's partecipation in the School4Life 2.0 project, promoted by ELIS to combat early school dropout, involved 11 secondary schools, 985 students and 74 hours of training.

School4Life 2.0, which recently concluded its 2021-2023 edition, is a two-year project for lower and upper secondary schools students in Italy organised by ELIS, a non-profit association that works with public and private organisations to promote educational initiatives, focusing on at-risk students. This initiative aims to combat early school dropout, which currently stands at 13.1% in Italy, still significantly higher than the European Union’s 2020 target of 10%.

Leonardo took part in this challenge and opportunity alongside 11 partner companies, offering its expertise to schools, pupils and teachers.

“A journey composed of actions and emotions” is how Daniela Ghezzi, Leonardo’s Head of Emerging Technologies Projects Office & Grants, summarised her experience as a Role Model at the ‘Vallescrivia’ Technical Institute in Genoa  where she gave Inspirational Talks. “Knowing that I’ve made a difference with these students, even a small one, by preparing them to face future challenges as best as they can, fills me with confidence and positive energy, giving me the impetus to continue my role with even greater determination.”

Daniela is one of the 18 company experts (composed of five Role Models, six Mentors and seven Master Mentors) who accompanied the young participants in this orientation and training course. In the latest edition, this close-knit and motivated team met 985 students from seven upper secondary schools (Technical Institutes for IT, Electrotechnics, Mechanics, Aircraft Flying and Transport) and four lower secondary schools in the areas with the highest risk of early school dropout: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Liguria, Campania and Apulia. 

Motivational and orientation meetings, training activities based on a didactic-experiential approach, and visits to Leonardo sites in Fusaro (NA), Ronchi dei Legionari (GO) and La Spezia (SP), made the students more aware of their abilities, enabling them to look with greater commitment towards the professions and skills of the future. This was also thanks to the contribution and direct experience of Leonardo’s people who, during the meetings, worked alongside the participants in examining topical issues such as Artificial Intelligence and digital technologies.

This intergenerational exchange was mutually enriching, as highlighted by Francesco Esposito, Head of Program Management - Manufacturing and Program Management Optimisation at Leonardo and ‘Master Mentor’ at the Istituto Tecnico Industriale Enrico Fermi in Naples. “In addition to the satisfaction of helping our community by providing guidance to students in a region with a higher incidence of early school dropout than the national average, School4Life allowed me to meet Generation Z close-up, thus experiencing new communication approaches and turning every difference into an opportunity for growth.”

There was no shortage of opportunities for competition, such as the Creathon, a creative marathon in which students responded to challenges set by the participating companies, including Leonardo’s challenge: designing a Space base on Mars. The winner was the Istituto Tecnico Industriale Polo Fermi-Gadda of Naples, which presented its model at the School4Life Closing Celebration on 6 June.

This edition saw the participation of 143 schools, 14,471 students and 345 business experts for a total of 1,109 meetings and 3,000 hours of activities. A major achievement that moves School4Life 2.0 towards the next edition set for 2023-2025.

Once again, Leonardo will be actively involved in the project, helping Italy’s education system support the younger generations in their journey towards the future.