Italy – reforms for modern vocational education and training


Italy is modernising its vocational education and training and seeking to simplify access. The aim is for current reform projects to pave the way, something which became clear at the Technical Meeting in Rome.

Italy is implementing broad reforms in order to strengthen its vocational education and training. These reforms were presented during the Technical Meeting held in Rome at the beginning of June. The Italian side was represented by the Ministry of Education (Ministerio dell’Istruzione, MI) the Ministry of Labour (Ministerio del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali, MLPS) and the country’s Employment Agency (Agenzia Nazionale per le Politiche Attive del Lavoro, ANPAL). The German presence came from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), GOVET, the German Embassy, the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Milan (AHK Milan) and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH).

Technical Meetings take place on a regular basis within the scope of the German-Italian vocational education and training cooperation which has been ongoing for more than ten years. Their purpose is to network on current VET issues in the respective countries and to coordinate joint activities.

Italy looks to higher technical academies to drive reforms

The Meeting in Rome was chaired by Gianluca Lombardo, Director at the MI. The Italian side explained the current VET reforms. Italy’s government is currently pursuing the implementation of a “Recovery and Resilience Plan” developed by the previous government. In the area of vocational education and training, the focus is on two topics. A law passed in 2021 restructured technical training at the higher technical academies (Istituti tecnici superiori, ITS). The government is presently drawing up the necessary implementation decrees intended to regulate the way in which the ITS function. All stakeholders in the country are integrated into this restructuring.

Focus is also on increasing permeability of the three-to-four-year training programmes accredited by the region and on smoothing the pathway to ITS training for participants. The plan here is to develop “campus” solutions which will bring together the learning venues for theoretical and practical contents of the training programmes.

The general goal is to modernise specialist technical training in Italy by putting company-based training in place alongside school-based provision. Additional aims are for technical training to become more flexible and for the schools to receive greater autonomy.

German dual vocational education and training – supported by the Excellence Initiative of the BMBF

Christian Leinen from the BMBF reported on the current main focuses of relevance to Germany – the acquisition of skilled workers, the energy transition and the transition to sustainable sources of heating. He addressed the attendant challenges against the background of stagnating trainee numbers. He stated that, for the government, cooperation with the social partners was important in order to tackle the problems mentioned. One example in this regard was the “Alliance for Initial and Further Training”. He presented some aspects of the Excellence Initiative on Vocational Education and Training launched by the BMBF as an example of the way in which the Federal Government is fostering dual VET. The Excellence Initiative mainly takes account of the dimensions of attractiveness, innovation and mobility.

Strong VET through networks

Regular networking is important in order to shape vocational education and training in a way more in line with needs and to be able to meet the current challenges. The project ConnActions is supporting the establishment of networks in Italy. This project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and its aim is to encourage dialogue and the exchange of experiences between Italian and German VET stakeholders. The project is assisting with the establishment of long-term bilateral public-private partnerships.

ConnActions was launched last summer. It is being implemented by the AHK Milan, which reported the high degree of interest shown in the project during the meeting in Rome. A German-Italian monitoring committee involving trade and industry and social partners and supported by the AHK is selecting the German-Italian networks whilst taking regional and specialist aspects into consideration. Networks which are not included can also be made a support offer via vehicles such as seminars in the area of mobility.

A look at further cooperation

Further joint topics such as the certification of qualifications, health and safety at work for young people and the training suitability of companies in the smallest size category were identified during the course of the meeting. The intention is to continue networking on these issues. GOVET will take charge of the technical inputs in this regard. More meetings within the framework of the ConnActions monitoring committee have been scheduled for December 2023 as part of the Premio Duale Award.