The paper reports the main results of a research that aimed to explore in depth the role that the experiences within the Salesians’ Vocational Training Centers played in influencing the personal and professional profile of former students. To this end, 54 former students from 6 Vocational Training Centers who have recognized as successful in work, personal life and social commitments were participated in the study. The research is not intended to “prove” that training leads to educational success, but to identify the conditions under which the training could promote educational success. Exploring the biographies of some of the lived experiences of former students, I was interested in particular to know what had allowed the trainees – who often come to CFP with heavy burdens, and with great difficulty against a certain type of school – to enhance their potential and succeed as adults, as respected professionals and individuals capable of taking responsibility for themselves and others. Research on training and life stories of former students become therefore also – and above all – a research on the practices of teachers and characteristics of learning environments, from the view of former students. Through the details of the stories collected and analyzed, it is possible to learn the characteristics of environments and educational practices that could assist in finding out the direction for offering best training. The contribution is divided into three parts. In the first, I tried to give a detailed account of how the research comes to take the current shape. The second part deals with the results focusing on the characteristics of the educational environment of the Vocational Training Centers and intervention strategies that the participants have found to be keys to their growth. The third part is the conclusion and offers a discussion of what emerges from the analysis of the data and highlights its major assets.
ISSN (Online) 2029-8447