Italy appears to have a consistent and relevant legislative framework, as highlighted by the national report on the implementation of the upskilling pathways recommendation. Adult participation is steadily increasing, albeit slowly. But all institutional and socioeconomic stakeholders agree on the need to adopt a holistic approach.

The forthcoming national strategic plan for the upskilling and reskilling of the adult population has as main objectives the creation of a strengthened coordination infrastructure between the different national policies and measures in this sector, and the setting of new lines of intervention for a first three-year of implementation period (2021/23). The plan has three strategic activity axes which aim to increase chances of bridging the skills gap for the majority of the adult population:

  • ‘intercepting, reaching out to and guiding individuals’: this aims to strengthen existing services - improving their attractiveness and effectiveness - and to activate new forms of intervention capable of reaching the low-skilled/low-qualified adults who tend to alienate, disengage and renounce the exercise of active citizenship. Specific investments will be addressed to increase the proximity, accessibility and integration of welcome and guidance services and raising the skills of guidance professionals;
  • ‘qualifying and upskilling human capital’: this has been identified considering that it is necessary to extend the personalisation of the existing learning offer (in matters such as contexts, content, timing and methods of learning assessment, teaching and IT supports), maintaining a focus on basic skills (raising and updating the literacy and qualification levels of the adult population, offering a personalisation of education, training, work and socio-work inclusion services, and qualifying demand and use of skills by strengthening entrepreneurship and management competences).
  • ‘intermediating and synchronising skills supply and demand’; this will include both actions at system level, and actions at the level of individuals, direct beneficiaries of the plan. Actions matching beneficiary learning needs better (include improving the quality of services aimed at the enhancement and portability of skills, supporting measures to strengthen and promote alliances that integrate and enhance formal learning contexts with non-formal and informal learning, and measures aimed at strengthening active ageing and reverse mentoring).

The plan was prepared by the technical inter-institutional committee on Italian adult education (ITLL), involving institutions that are part of the multi-actor and multilevel governance of the adult learning sector.