“Dreams, full employment, high level performances: here is our (possible) mission”

The latest ‘Follow Up’ Analysis on the coherent and qualified employment and occupation during the post-master year shows us figures close to 100% with almost a full employment and/or total achievement of the working objectives by the students, for all the masters organised by the School.In particular, 100% of efficiency for PMC – Master in Project Management for the International Cooperation, and 90% for FRAME – Master in Fundraising Management and HOPE-Master in Humanitarian Operation in Emergencies (within the first 10 months). With over 40% of students that keeps working for the organisation where their Stage took place.

A demonstration that it is possible to generate quality employment and to follow the own dreams at the same time, if there is determination and capacity to choose the right paths. A result that removes many alibis and that should invite the press colleagues- in particular the Italian one, to a major attention and professionalism in the analysis, avoiding the banal defeatism or the usual story of a ‘single case of success’. Here, we are talking of over 1000 people trained just by us, and of tens of millions of “dreamers” in Europe, “employed” in the non-profit sector (7% of the total in Europe, over 3% in Italy).

To be honest, I am not too surprised by the results as they had already been achieved by the School many times and many years ago.

Outcomes that might be perceived in a ‘dangerous’ way as they might make people think that ‘doing the master is enough’ for being ‘on board’ of the NGOs or to make a life change. Or, that the job offer in the NGOs or in the non-profit in general is so high that in the end ‘everyone will be employed’. The reality is very different. In particular, in Europe, hundreds of thousands of people who every month ‘present themselves’ trying to get into the sector complain that is it a ‘closed’ sector, even of a lack of response, or the access to it just as a volunteer. Those who read my articles know what I am talking about. Many are precarious and are not able to ‘stabilize’. Then, do we explain success of such proportions?

Both the Master Directors and the Staff, underlined some ‘critical factors’: the rooting of the Social Change School  and the side-by-side work with the organisations (from which directors, advisers, selectors and lecturers come), their managers and the HRM; the efficiency of the Career Service and of the Stage; the coherence between the programmes and the trained competences– for today and tomorrow, through a careful study of the professional profiles and of their future. The ‘concreteness’ in a very little ‘university-style’; the ‘challenges’ and the constant in progress evaluation and monitoring of the student’s path; the ‘guaranty’ that the School ensures respect to its own graduates and the weight of the certification issued by an historical institution.

Those are all the elements of an efficient system and they can explain the achievements. I would like to highlight two aspects: the ‘cultural’ one and the one relative to the quality of the student.

The fact that all the masters have that effectiveness means that it doesn’t just depend on the strong commitment of the people and of the teams that manage them. Also that we are working within a proven system and above all with a strong culture.

Not the generalist culture of a university that does a bit of everything and also ‘a bit’ of non profit. For 20 years, we have been working on our mission: training the best professionals of the sector and of the world. I said training them, not ’employing them’. Training people that would make a real difference when they go into the organisations. Therefore, we give more than all we have for that cause, as it is our only reason to exist, we don’t measure our success based on the invoices or number of students, but on the social impact that we produce.

This leads to a STRONG DESIRE TO OBTAIN RESULTSto a spasmodic attention. For example, we do not wait a year before employment follow ups, we create them during the master, and also during the year after, by keeping ourselves up-to-date with the students’ situation and helping them to better follow their ‘career plan’, encouraging them to join the Alumni Community for a 360° degree support, also peer to peer.

Such desire, is born within a strong ‘ENGAGEMENT’- that we describe as passion+ commitment- we really love the people and our job: we are not administrator or trainers (with all the due respect). All the ‘internal’ staff has a past- and a present-  volunteering experience, where they cared for growth in people, of international cooperation on the field.  We become attached to our students, and every ending edition is always a bit of a shock, a loss, but not a total loss as we keep contacts through the community and in other ways. Personally, I can’t stand seeing ‘people wandering around’ one year after the master, or ‘remaining in the for profit’ despite receiving interesting offers.

The second aspect that I want to highlight is the quality of the students. A third of the students are young people involved, carefully selected through qualified recruitment basins (volunteering, youth associations such as AIESEC, etc.), another third of them are also seniors coming from the for profit sector– who are much older and have more experiences, the third remaining group are people who already work in the non profit, but usually are professionally ‘unstable’ or they are looking for a decisive consolidation and updating of their knowledge. They are the ‘real difference’. In the Potential Evaluation Interview, the admission process is a carefully considered one, as it lasts one hour, because it is based on character and peformed by our HRM colleagues from the partner NGOs and by myself included.  When we do an interview we ask ourselves: ‘ Is that person really interested? Would I spend one hour of aperitif to listen to his/her experiences and paths?’ Does he/she have the ‘right character’? Does he/she have the prerequisites for the success?’

But we aren’t and we don’t want to be an ‘exclusive’ school and fall into the rhetoric of ‘only the best ones’ – the most qualified, assertive, brilliant. We also welcome some ‘goslings’ and we are very proud of that, we sometime work on the immature ‘human material’, but that is promising. Anyway, for us, our students  are the best (whether they’re 22 or 57 years old): as they are real people, alive, people that risk and invest everything in their dreams. We absolutely care and respect them and with we are happy to work together for the success.

I address my thanks first to them, the staff, the colleagues and the many friends and international partners with which we have been working effectively and side by side for many years.

In particular, among the many, I would like to thank some of them for the distinctive contribution: Save The ChildrenINTERSOSOXFAMAMREFCOOPIAIESECEUCLID NETWORKACOSVOCHS AllianceItalian Red CrossLIBERA…. Let’s keep building together!

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