Following the 2001 reform of the Constitution, under art. 117, vocational training falls under the responsibility of the Regions, which had also expanded their predominant role in this sector in the previous decade.
As regards the cultural field, Italian Regions support many training actions, covering the different educational options of lifelong learning and continuous education – primarily together with the Ministry of Labour and the European Social Fund. The territorial distribution of institutions with a specific focus on education is also unevenly spread, with higher concentration in regions like Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Tuscany, Lombardy, and Puglia. The cultural sector has multiple training needs differing in terms of content and type. These needs were identified and analysed at first within the Excelsior Project – Information System for Employment and Training launched in 1997 and created by Unioncamere in agreement with ANPAL – Agenzia Nazionale Politiche Attive del Lavoro (National Agency for Active Labour Policies), with the contribution of the European Social Fund. Considered one of the most authoritative research tools in the National Statistical Programme, the Excelsior Project aims at monitoring trends in the labour demand and the learning, skill and professional needs expressed by companies in all industrial sectors. As part of the project, the report called The professional and training needs of cultural enterprises is produced annually.
The panorama of professional training in the cultural field has seen the emergence of new players in recent years, in particular the ITS – Istituti Tecnici Superiori (Higher Technical Institutes), which provides a post-secondary, non-university, professionalising learning offer, aimed at favouring access of “intermediate technicians”. The ITS were established with a 2007 law and implemented in 2010. The training offer is defined at the regional level and by the autonomous provinces on the basis of territorial plans adopted every three years, and varies from region to region; their legal status is the Fondazione di partecipazione (participatory foundation). The courses last two years and provide for the acquisition of credits recognized by universities, but some may have a duration of three years. The ITS are activated on the basis of projects shared by universities, research centres, secondary schools, local authorities, higher education institutions, individual companies and associations from the labour and business sectors. They cover six technological areas considered as a priority for the economic development and competitiveness of the country. One of them specifically refers to the cultural sector and includes two areas: “Tourism” and “Cultural Activities and Cultural and Artistic Heritage”. It should also be added that other areas, such as “Information and communication technologies” and “New technologies for the Made-in-Italy” (which also includes the “Fashion system”), are in fact part of the cultural and creative sectors. The employment outcomes of ITS, as shown in national monitoring carried out in 2020, are decidedly positive. One year after the acquisition of the certification, 86.4% of graduates from the area “Innovative technologies for cultural heritage and activities – Tourism” (21 courses) were employed (this is the area with the highest rate). It should also be noted that Mission 4: Education and Research of the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan)provides for a reform of the ITS system which further develops it “by strengthening the organizational and teaching model (…)”. The reform, which will be implemented by the Ministry of Education with the collaboration of the Ministry of University and Research, also provides for the integration of ITS courses with the system of vocational degrees at university level.
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