The application of EU tools in Italy is ongoing, despite obstacles linked to the absence of a national qualifications framework.

Since 2011, the Italian National Reference Point for Quality (NRP) has supported the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education, the regions and the social partners in the definition of the National Plan for Quality Assurance for VET. The National Plan has been validated by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education; final validation from the regions is under way. Within the quality assurance context, and in line with the EQAVET Recommendation, the Italian NRP has promoted its added value, in terms of knowledge, tools and methodology, and has also promoted a pilot project on the transfer and dissemination of peer review methodology by involving schools and VET providers.

In addition to quality assurance, geographical and professional mobility may be strengthened by giving skills and competences more transparency and visibility. This particularly refers to the Europass Portfolio whose task is to make visible and applicable titles, qualifications and VET certificates throughout Europe. Several promotional activities have been carried out by the National Europass Centre Italy (NEC IT), focusing on national authorities and VET providers, or final users like citizens, workers or specific target groups (unemployed, first-time jobseekers, long-term unemployed, low-skilled workers, etc.). Statistics for 2011 shows that Italy is among the ‘top countries’ per volume of Europass mobility documents issued. NEC IT has worked intensively with institutional actors such as NGOs, provinces and municipalities to pave the way for a forthcoming ‘reform’ of the Europass Portfolio that will probably lead to the adoption of a new tool that will be more focused on the transparency of skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning contexts. NEC IT has also worked intensively on the Leonardo da Vinci DISCO II project on definitions in a multilingual thesaurus for the description of skills and competences, occupations, qualifications, and job profiles.

In Italy implementation of the EQF is coordinated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education, University and Research, with the support of Isfol as the EQF National Coordination Point. The process is ongoing. A very innovative and significant improvement concerns the shift towards the use of learning outcomes (LO) in general education. While in vocational training the LO approach is an established practice, from 2010 it has been applied also for the description of qualifications in upper secondary pathways.

A technical group has completed a proposal on the relationship between the levels of qualifications of the Italian education and training system and the EQF levels. Due to the absence of a National Qualification Framework the referencing is based on the analysis and comparison of descriptors of each type of qualification. For this reason the first referencing report includes only qualifications that are expressed in learning outcomes and are consistent with the criteria established at European level. The implementation of the EQF is a dynamic process and further versions of report will include more qualifications and consider education and training system developments at national and regional level.