Reference year 2019

    1Scheme history

    Q1. When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)

    Legislative Decree 276/2003 explicitly established the 3 types of apprenticeships. The Legislative Decree 167/11, ‘Testo Unico sull'Apprendistato’ (Consolidated Text on Apprenticeships) reformed the legislative framework. The Type 3 apprenticeship legislative framework was substantially reformed again in 2015.

    Q2. How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
    Traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
    School-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs

    A scheme similar to apprenticeships for higher research had been introduced in 2003 ex novo. The 2015 reform introduced ex-novo also the sub-types of apprenticeship for research and apprenticeship to access regulated professions.


    Q3. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?
    Minimum and maximum age limits defined
    Minimum age limits defined only

    As per article 45 of the legislative decree Nr. 81/2015, this scheme might be used to recruit people at least 18 years not and not exceeding the age of 29, holding a secondary school education qualification or a post-secondary professional or technical education qualification.

    Q4. What is the average age of learners in practice?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    Type 3 apprenticeships enable 18- to 29-year-olds and programmes are offered in two subtypes, namely apprenticeship for higher education and apprenticeship for research. Qualifications usually offered through tertiary level education might be either academic (awarded EQF level 6 and 7), including a doctoral degree (awarded EQF level 8), or technical tertiary education (National Technical Institutes, awarded at EQF level 5). The subtype “Research” does not lead to a formal qualification in the Education and Training system, rather than to a professional profile recognized at the sectoral level.

    In addition, the new legal framework introduced in 2015 also provides the possibility of recurring to Type 3 apprenticeship for qualifying graduates who need a compulsory training period for accessing the regulated professions.  

    Q5. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

    Data for 2019 will be provided as soon as they are available. INAPP is responsible for the annual monitoring activities on the basis of two main sources: the national social security authority INPS (for employment related aspects) and Regions and Autonomous Provinces (for data about the training activities they carry out)”.

    The latest available data, although provisionary, refer to 2017: according to the XVIII INAPP monitoring report, there were 982 type 3 apprentices in Italy.…



    Q7. Are the qualifications included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?
    There is no NQF

    Type 3 apprenticeships – sub-type for higher education – are possible in programmes in EQF levels 5 to 8.

    Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?

    ISCED 2011 mapping, with reference to Italy is as follows:

    the Type 3 scheme enables apprentices to achieve post-secondary (ITS) (ISCED 5) or tertiary level diplomas (ISCED 6 or 7) or a doctorate degree (ISCED 8) from the education system. One of the subtypes (apprenticeship for research) has no ISCED level assigned because this type does not lead to any formal qualification in the Education and Training system. The same goes for apprenticeship for regulated professions.

    Q10. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
    Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
    Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
    Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)

    Type 3 apprenticeship applies to all sectors of activity and programmes are offered in two subtypes, namely apprenticeship for higher education and apprenticeship for research. The former leads to various qualifications at post-secondary (upper technical specialisation certificates) and tertiary levels, such as bachelor, master or doctoral degrees. The other subtype leads to the occupational qualification of ‘researcher’ or equivalent, which is not to be confused with any academic title and which has no official status in the public education system but can be ecognized in relevant collective agreements. It is also possible to use this type of apprenticeship to access regulated professions, with rules being defined by the relevant bodies and professional orders (e.g. lawyers, notaries etc.).

    Q11. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

    Not applicable. Type 3 is already at higher education level, either academic or technical (ITS), that is tertiary or post-secondary; for the research sub-type and apprenticeship for regulated professions, it depends of the protocols signed and agreements at regional, local or sectoral level.

    Q12. What is the typical duration of the apprenticeship programme?

    In the case of apprenticeship for Research activities and apprenticeship for regulated professions, duration is set within the Individual Training Plan and it is not necessarily linked to the duration of the learning pathway, as the object of the contract might be the possibility to carry out a research activity and not necessarily the earning of a specific qualification.


    Q13. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?

    The regulatory framework defining the training standard, and the duration of type 3 apprenticeships is delegated to the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces in co-ordination process with Universities, Higher Technical Institutes and the other relevant research institutions.

    Q14. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?
    Role in designing qualification
    Role in designing curricula
    No role

    Employers’ organisations and trade unions are responsible for the national and local level regulation of Apprenticeship contracts through National Collective Labour Agreements and/or Cross-sectors agreements, within the limits foreseen by art. 42 cc. 1-4 Leg. Decr. 81/2015 and respecting art. 42 cc. 5 requisites (Individual Training Plan, tutor, pay/wage, in-company training, …).

    Social partners’ role may be relevant in shaping apprenticeship content in an indirect way, that means through the analysis and the forecast of skills supply and demand.

    Q15. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?
    Role in final assessment of apprentices
    Role in accreditation of companies
    Role in monitoring of the in-company training
    No role

    Currently, the Chambers of Commerce are playing an important role of dissemination and promotion of apprenticeship either at local or national level. They make annual and monthly surveys about skills supply in the economic district and within the sectors.   

    They provide information and assistance to companies in activating and implementing apprenticeship contracts. Besides the Union of Chambers of Commerce has been appointed as the national subject to implement a national Register of companies available for work-based learning experience ( This tool is not a proper accreditation but is considered a means of dialogue between employers and training representatives (Schools, Vet providers, Universities). In the view of renewed regulatory framework, the Register may be implemented with the aim of becoming a tool for accreditation for companies that have training and technical capacity of initiating dual paths of training via apprenticeship or work-based learning.

    5Training at the workplace

    Q17. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?

    The compulsory alternation is set out by law, but norms do not prescribe a specific model of alternation. Nevertheless, in practice Individual Training Plan foresee period of work and learning venue alternation.

    Q18. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?
    Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
    Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
    Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
    No, no minimum share is compulsory

    The division of time is defined as a maximum percentage of the training that can be delivered outside of the company. As per article 5 of the Inter-ministerial Decree 12/10/2015, the external (school-based) training time for higher education pathways (university studies, including doctoral degrees) may not exceed 60% of the number of hours calculated on the basis of university credits.

    Q19. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?
    Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
    No, the legal framework makes no distinction

    The distinction between training time and working time emerges from the Individual Training Plan, as a result of a requirement set by law. Art. 6 of the interministerial decree of 15 October 2015, laying down standards and general criteria for apprenticeship pathways, sets out the maximum share of external training (in the HE institution) that cannot exceed 60% of the total time. With the aim of calculating the time amount, it is agreed by law to refer to the University Credit Unit (CFU) system.

    This distinction is essential as the employer will remunerate internal training 10 % than the ordinary working time.

    Q20. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?
    Every week includes both venues
    One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
    One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
    A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
    Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
    Not specified

    No indication of the form of alternation was found in the regulatory framework.

    The alternation between the company and the training institution in apprenticeships does not follow a standard scheme but it is very different region by region mainly depending on:

    • the total amount of out-of-company training apprentices have to participate in (quite relevant for Type 3);
    • the company’s production needs (irrespective of the apprenticeship type);
    • the out-of-company training supply delivery structure, profile, contents (technical or basic/general skills) and organisation (e.g. it is quite different to attend a university course or a Doctorate course and to attend a course in a VET Centre).

    That being said, the Type 3 apprenticeships may follow a combination of the following schemes:

    • 2 days in training institution and 3 days in company every week (a week-based scheme);
    • 1 week in training institution and 3 weeks in company (a month-based scheme);
    • 1 week in training institution and 4-6 or more weeks in company.

    However, generally a way between the monthly scheme and a kind of “free scheme”, depending on when external training is held is the most common for Type 3 apprenticeships.

    The sub-scheme for research activities actually does not foresee any alternation.

    Q22. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?
    Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
    Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
    No, is not required formally

    All types of apprenticeship contracts must be in written form and must include an Individual Training Plan, whose responsibility, for Types 1 and 3, is shared with the training/education institution and the employer (art. 42 c.1 Leg. Decr. 81/2015 and art. 5 c. 3 Inter-ministerial Decr. 12/10/2015).

    Companies hosting apprentices are required to provide and to follow the Individual Training Plan which is an essential part of the contract, signed also by the apprentice. This tool is not only a formal way of scheduling the training activities of the apprentice but it’s also a legal means for monitoring the right progress of the combined training activities, within and outside the learning venue. The Inter-ministerial Decree 12/10/2015 also envisages other tools to put in transparency and to assess the acquisition of learning outcomes like the “Individual Dossier”.

    Q23. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?
    Have to provide a suitable learning environment
    Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer

    Art. 3 of the Inter-ministerial Decree 12/10/2015 defines the requirements for an employer that is engaged in an apprenticeship contract. In order to enter such a contract, the employer must meet the following requirements:

    • “structural capacities” (suitable spaces for company-based training and, in case of apprentices with disability, the absence of architectonic barriers);
    • “technical capacities” (availability of instruments and supports allowing the implementation of internal training; instruments and supports must obviously comply with the in-force regulations);
    • “training capacities” (availability of one or more company tutor(s) whose responsibilities and tasks are defined in art. 7 of the same Inter-min. Decree).

    Following art. 42 let. C of Leg. Decr. 81/2015, the “presence of a tutor or company representative” is one of the apprenticeship principle which cannot be derogated by Collective or Cross-sectors Labour Agreements.

    Q25. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    Art. 47 c. 1 and 2 Leg. Decr. 81/2015 describes employer’s responsibilities and consequences (sanctions) in case the in-company training is not delivered:

    • If the employer fails to deliver in-company training, the employer has to deposit the difference between contribution already deposited and the contribution (owed to the employee) taking as reference the level of contractual placement that would have been reached by the employee at the end of the period of apprenticeship, increased by 100%.
    • For violation of the provision of Article 42, paragraph 1 (regarding the general principles of an apprenticeship contract), as well as for the violation of the principles of collective labour agreements laid down in Article 42, paragraph 5, letters a), b) and c), the employer is punished with an administrative fine from 100 to 600 Euros. In the case of relapse administrative fine is increased from 300 to 1500 Euros.

    6Contract and compensation

    Q26. What is the status of the learner?
    Only student
    Only employee
    Apprentice is a specific status (student and employee combined)

    Apprentices have a double status of student and worker, as regards compliance with the rules of conduct in the institution training and on the job, and, in particular, the rules on hygiene, health and safety in the workplace, as well as obligations to undertake internal and external training.

    Q27. Is there any written arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?

    The apprenticeship employment contract must be in written form and must include an Individual Training Plan, whose responsibility is shared between the education/training institution, the apprentice and the employer.

    Typical contents are the following (in accordance to a specific collective labour agreement or to an inter-sectors agreement or to a territorial/company agreement):

    • the final educational qualification to be achieved;
    • the initial date and total duration;
    • the trial period duration;
    • the wage;
    • training provision;
    • the legal framework to be applied;
    • the workplace and working time;
    • the name of company tutor;
    • other clauses concerning safety, confidentiality and privacy.
    Q28. What is the nature of the written arrangement?
    Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
    Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
    Another type of formal agreement, not a contract

    The apprentice has a subordinate permanent employment contract with the company even if he/she is entitled to the “double status of student and worker”. At the end of the apprenticeship period the employer and the apprentice may terminate the contract. If not otherwise explicitly stated, the apprenticeship contract turns into an ordinary open-ended dependent (subordinate) employment contract.

    Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?
    At the school
    At the Ministry of employment
    At the chambers
    At the Ministry of education

    Data about activation/termination/variation of typology of apprenticeships contracts are communicated to the Ministry of Labour and social policies and the National Institute for Social Security (INPS) respectively through the National Informative systems: Labour Compulsory Communications (COB) and UNIEMENS.

    Q30. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?
    Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
    Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
    Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
    No form of compensation is foreseen by law

    Companies pay apprentices’ wages which may be (Leg. Decr. 81/2015, art. 42 c.4) “up to two levels lower than a (correspondent) qualified employee” or a “proportionate percentage in relation to working seniority”. The wage is determined in the contract.

    In addition to wage, also some apprentice’s social security costs must be paid by companies (art. 42 c.6 of Leg. Decr. 81/2015: insurance against job-related injuries and illnesses, ordinary illnesses, invalidity and old age; maternity, family allowance; employment social insurance).

    According to Article 45 c.3 of the Legislative Decree 81/2015, the employer must pay the apprentice 10% of his/her wage for in-company training hours. This percentage may be modified by National Collective Labour Agreements. No wage has to be paid to apprentice for the external (school-based) formal training.

    Q31. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?
    By law (applying for all)
    By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company

    The regulation of apprenticeship contract is outlined in general through intersectoral collective agreements, either in terms of how the wage is set up or in terms of the amount of the salary that apprentices should be paid for training and working.  Collective agreements normally offer the possibility to opt for hiring apprentices up to two levels lower than qualified workers, or to define their remuneration as a percentage of the average wage of qualified workers.

    Within this general framework, sectoral collective agreements at national, local or sectoral level and firm-level agreements might offer better conditions or adapt to the specific context the wage of apprentices.

    7Financing and incentives

    Q32. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?

    Employers cover the costs of the wage of the apprentices. They can benefit from tax reliefs  and incentives devoted to hire young apprentices enrolled in dual apprenticeship by the State, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces.

    Q33. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
    Single employers hosting apprentices
    Sectoral funds

    The employer pays the apprentice’s in-company training hours at 10%, net of other indications defined through collective labour agreements (while no pay is foreseen for the training hours spent outside of the company).

    The legislative framework envisages the possibility to pay in-company training through Bilateral Interprofessional Funds (jointly established and managed by Social Partners). There is limited evidence of this practice.

    Q34. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    There are incentives common to all types of apprenticeship:

    • A favourable duty scheme, for all types of apprenticeship: The apprentice pays 5.84% of taxable wage for social insurance and the employer pays between 3% and 10%, or pays no contribution if the company has 9 employees or fewer.
    Q35. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?
    No, it covers only the time spent in the company

    The employer will not remunerate the time spent in the external training, that means outside the company, as per art. 45, c. 3 of legislative decree Nr. 81/2015.

    Q36. Are there any incentives for learners?
    Yes, grants paid to learners to top up their remuneration
    Yes, grants paid to learners related to other costs (travel, food etc.)
    Yes, recognition of prior learning / fast-track opportunities
    Yes, other types of incentives