Network Services project, Italy


Agriculture and fishingConstruction and woodworkingHotel restaurant and catering
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This initiative was implemented in 2011–2012 with a view to preventing undeclared work in the Italian ‘convergence’ regions of Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. It involved a traineeship programme targeted at Italian and European citizens in the construction, tourism and agriculture sectors who were unemployed or inactive. The project provided some 1,700 two-month traineeships aimed at enhancing job prospects and promoting skills acquisition.



As indicate by available data, undeclared work is present in southern Italy to a much larger extent than in the central and northern regions of the country. Moreover, it concentrates in certain specific sectors like construction, agriculture, personal services and tourism. In order to shift the attention from traditional inspections and sanctions to the prevention of undeclared work, the Italian government and local authorities started to devise new active labour market instruments to reduce undeclared work with the objective of establishing and consolidating a proper network of services for the prevention of undeclared work.

In particular, these efforts include the strengthening of job matching services, the enhancement of training and requalification and the full utilisation of all types of employment contracts available, including flexible work, in order to promote the stable employment of disadvantaged job seekers.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies and the regional administrations under Objective Convergence of the European Union signed a programme agreement in October 2010 for the establishment of an experimental network of public and private services to prevent undeclared work through active labour market measures. The responsibility for the implementation of such project was given to Italia Lavoro, an agency of the ministry.


The measure aims to provide 3,000 traineeships to both Italian and foreign nationals through a network of public and private operators.

Specific measures

The project Re.La.R (Rete dei servizi per la prevenzione del lavoro sommerso) was started in June 2011 and finished in June 2012. It aimed to support the creation of a network of actors and services (a ‘Network of Services’) to support the prevention of undeclared work. In particular, it envisaged the provision of 3,000 traineeships though a number of local providers selected according to a number of criteria with a public tender.

The targeted trainees were Italian and European citizens unemployed or inactive who had not reached retirement age (40% of total traineeships) and non-EU citizens with a regular residence permit (60% of total traineeships). In addition, according to the legislation, traineeship can be activated only within 12 months from graduation or obtaining a secondary school diploma. Each trainee would receive an allowance of €550 per month for a maximum of two months. The activities covered by the traineeships could not last more than two months and had to involve from 30 to 36 hours per week. The trainees had to work under the supervision of a company tutor and of a teaching tutor to organise the training activities. The aims of the project are to enhance job matching and promote skill acquisition.

The traineeships concerned three sectors – construction, tourism and agriculture – and four regions, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. In particular, the project envisaged a maximum of 567 traineeships in Calabria, 933 in Campania, 667 in Puglia and 833 in Sicily.

The project budget was €4.5 million and was part of the initiatives funded by the European Social Fund under the 2007–2013 Operational National Plan for the Italian Convergence regions.

Actors involved

The actors involved were Italia Lavoro, as the agency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies responsible for the implementation of the programme and the various public and private organisations which responded to the public tender to offer traineeship programme in the relevant areas and were approved (almost 250).

Outcome of evaluations: lessons and conclusions

Achievement of objectives

After the selection process, it was expected to activate 2,054 traineeships of two months each. The initiatives covered Campania (639), Calabria (388), Puglia (456) and Sicily (571). The cost involved in each traineeship was €1,500; €1,100 as the allowance for the trainee and €400 for the organisation providing the traineeship. Eventually 2,030 traineeships were activated and 1,794 were completed (or 88% of the planned initiatives). The traineeship programmes have been implemented by 43% of the organisations which had submitted a proposal. These were training organisation and social cooperatives which work with migrant workers.

The organisations involved in the RE.LA.R project had the opportunity to attend regional seminars to present both the objectives and the tools of the programme.

The majority of traineeships have been implemented in tourism (1,265 or more than 60%)

Obstacles and problems

No information available.

Lessons learned

No information available.

Impact indicators

No information besides what is indicated above.


The system appears easily transferrable, but the lack of information on the impact in terms of employment creation in an important drawback for the assessment of the benefits.



Istat (2011), La misura dell’occupazione non regolare nelle stime di contabilità nazionale.

Inps (2012, Rapporto annuale 2011.

Roberto Pedersini, Università degli Studi di Milano


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