The extracurricular traineeship is a widely used work-based learning (WBL) tool in Italy. It is an active policy training measure aimed at creating direct contact between a host subject and the trainee. This contact favours the enrichment of knowledge, acquisition of professional skills, and insertion or reintegration into employment. The traineeship consists of a period of work orientation and on-the-job training that cannot be considered as an employment relationship. 

The Second national monitoring report on extracurricular traineeships, released in May 2021, presents the characteristics and outcomes of extracurricular traineeship experiences between 2014 and 2019. The report is the result of inter-institutional work carried out by the National Agency for Active Employment Policies (ANPAL) and the National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP). It shows that during 2014-19, around 1970 million traineeships were activated, involving 1590 million individuals and just under 530 000 companies.

Trainee profile and employment outcomes

The results of the survey make it possible to draw a profile of Italian trainees. The population of trainees is mainly made up of unemployed or unemployable people (around 70%), mostly between 15 and 29 years (almost 80% of cases). Another characteristic is that the population has an educational qualification that in 3 out of 4 cases does not go beyond a high school diploma. These data basically show that WBL is an active labour market policy tool, helping young people enter or return to the labour market. The employment outcomes are another interesting point: 1 month after the conclusion of the traineeship, the rate of job placement is 38%; 3 months later, the percentage rises to 47%, to reach 54% 6 months after the end of the experience. It should be noted that job placement rates vary considerably depending on the training content of the placement and the occupational groups involved. Qualified training paths generate more employment opportunities, while low-skilled experiences, which constitute a residual share of Italian traineeships, have significantly lower integration rates: 6 months after the end of the experience, only one traineeship out of three leads to the activation of an employment relationship. This confirms the close link between the quality of traineeships and their employment outcomes.

The COVID-19 effect

The report also examines the dynamics of traineeships during 2020, a year marked by the pandemic. Due to this, in March 2020 several Italian regions decreed the suspension of current traineeships and a freeze on new ones. In the following months, many regions allowed traineeships to be resumed in smart mode in cases where there was the possibility of continuing the training activity remotely. This could be thought of as the birth of ‘smart training’. Although this was a major innovation, it could not prevent a sharp drop in the number of traineeships: from 356 000 in 2019, the number of traineeships has fallen to 238 000 in 2020 ( -33%).

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The Second national monitoring report on extracurricular traineeships


Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Italy; Cedefop (2021). Italy: extracurricular traineeships: second national monitoring report. National news on VET