Legislative decree sets up national continuing vocational training system
In November 1998, the Italian government issued a legislative decree to implement 1997 legislation setting up a national system of continuing vocational training, based on cooperation among the social partners.
On 13 November 1998, the Italian government issued a legislative decree to implement article 17 of the so-called "Treu law" (named for the former minister of labour), issued on 24 June 1997. This law gave legislative backing to the contents of the Pact for Employment signed in September 1996 by the government, trade union organisations and employers' organisations (IT9702201F).
The new regulation is based on the logic of concertation between public authorities and social partners, and it strengthens the role of the latter in the development of training activities, the allocation of financial resources and the management of continuing vocational training. The most important aspects of the regulation concern:
- the participation of social partners and the regions in an inter-ministerial commission which will be responsible for "drawing up the guidelines on the use and allocation of national and European resources";
- the creation of an "intersectoral fund for the management of continuing vocational training". This fund will be financed with a contribution of 0.3% of paybill already paid by employers;
- for the management of the new fund, a private foundation will be set up at the Institute for the Development of Vocational Training (Istituto per lo Sviluppo della Formazione dei Lavoratori, ISFOL), the technical agency of the Ministry of Labour concerned with vocational training. It will support - through financial contributions - the implementation of continuing vocational training initiatives provided for in plans agreed on between the social partners at territorial and company level;
- the social partners will participate in the management of the fund. A special committee will thus be created within the new foundation to deal with and monitor the fund's activity. This committee will be composed of eight representatives of trade union organisations and eight representatives of employers' organisations;
- the continuing vocational training activities financed by the fund will concern employees and the self-employed. The fund will also be able to finance training activities for workers registered on "mobility lists" (IT9802319F) and unemployed workers, if the training is aimed at securing their recruitment; and
- the fund will be divided in four independently managed sections, covering industry, agriculture, services and the artisanal sector.
The legislative decree deals with some crucial subjects, allowing the Italian training system to make a big step forward in terms of quality and coherent reorganisation, bringing it closer into line with the best European practices.
All vocational training centres will have to be "accredited" to carry out their training activities, which means that they will have to meet specific criteria and requirements fixed by the decree (in terms of logistical and structural capacities, economic situation, previous activities, professional profiles involved and relations with the locality). One method of accreditation will be the ISO 9001 international standard for quality assurance, developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation.
Some additional financial resources are provided to enable the regions to adapt their training structures. To this end, a national fund will be created to which the Ministry of Labour will contribute a maximum of ITL 100 billion for 1999.
As regards the certification of vocational competence, the decree introduces a training booklet in which people's individual training history will be recorded. The regions will be responsible for certifying the skills acquired and these "training credits" will be also valid towards the award of educational qualifications or in access to particular courses, based on specific agreements between the competent ministries and the regions.
Trade union and employers' organisations expressed their satisfaction with decree, as it represents the realisation of one of the most important chapters of the Pact for Employment. They believe that it supplies the country with a modern and flexible training system that will foster company competitiveness and the "employability" of workers.