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Vocational education and training in Italy: a well-kept secret?

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Vocational education and training (VET) enjoys a positive image in Italy, but is still regarded less favourably than general education. One reason may be that awareness about VET is amongst the lowest in the EU (see map below), according to the findings of Cedefop’s survey on what EU citizens think about VET for 16 to18 year-olds.

In Italy, three quarters (75%) of survey respondents have a positive image of VET, one of the highest levels in the EU. However, over 8 in 10 believe that general education has a more positive image.

Source: Cedefop’s VET opinion survey.

VET upper secondary graduates in Italy find a job more quickly after their studies than general education graduates of the same age. The drawback is that VET is linked to specific occupations, some of which are not attractive. Only 47% of respondents in Italy think that VET leads to a highly regarded job, well below the EU average of 60%, while 57% agree that VET leads to a well-paid job compared to 61% in the EU overall. 

However, VET upper secondary graduates appear more satisfied with their courses. Some 61% of survey respondents who had followed VET at upper secondary level say that, overall, they were totally satisfied with the quality of teaching they received, the general and work-related skills they acquired and the equipment available; this compares to 56% for general education. In addition, 44% of respondents say that Italy should prioritise investment in VET, compared to 32% who favour investment in general education.

This indicates that more and better information about VET may help address misconceptions about it. Only 51% of respondents say that they had heard of VET before their survey interview, the joint third-lowest rate in the EU. Only 36% of general education graduates responding to the survey say that they received information about VET when deciding their upper secondary education options.

Overall the survey provides a positive picture of VET in Italy indicating that it has much to offer students. Given more information about it, more people may choose a vocational learning path.

Notes

  • More in Cedefop opinion survey on vocational education and training in Europe: Italy (in English only)
  • Cedefop’s opinion survey, published in 2017, provides new insights into what Europeans think of vocational education and training (VET), its ability to give people the right skills and to help VET graduates to find a job. The survey aims to inform policies to make VET a more attractive and effective learning option. It was conducted in June 2016 and examined EU citizens’ awareness and opinions on VET’s attractiveness and effectiveness, and personal experiences of VET at upper secondary level (typically age 16 to 18). The survey comprised more than 35 000 interviews of a representative sample of Europeans across all EU Member States.

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