Italy has high numbers of young people participating in initial vocational education and training compared to the EU average. According to indicators compiled by Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), in 2012, 60% of all upper secondary students in Italy were vocational students, above the EU average of 50.3% and higher than in Germany (48.6%) and France (44.6%).

There is growing evidence that young people on high-quality apprenticeships and internships are more likely to acquire useful skills and attitudes to find suitable work and it seems from the data that upper secondary vocational graduates have better job prospects than general education graduates. The employment rate of upper secondary vocational graduates aged 20 to 34 in Italy is 74.6%, some 7.8 percentage points higher than for upper secondary graduates of the same age from general education.

In contrast, data for 2012 show that Italy had only 6.6% of adults aged 25 to 64 participating in lifelong learning. This is higher than in France (5.7%), but lower than in Germany (7.9%) and in the EU as a whole (9%) and well below the European average target of 15% to be achieved by 2020.

Notes to editors

• Data come from indicators compiled by Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training). Data used was extracted in summer 2013 and at the time of writing is the latest available from Eurostat. Data for employment rates for upper secondary vocational and general education graduates (aged 20-34) relate to 2009.

• Cedefop’s full publication: On the way to 2020 giving data for all EU Member States is available at:

• Italy’s performance on a range of indicators selected to monitor progress in VET and lifelong learning across the European Union is shown in Figure 1: [VET indicators for Italy for the most recent year available Index numbers (EU=100)]. The indicators are based on the most recent data available (this differs by indicator). Data in the chart are presented as an index where the EU average equals 100. If the index for an indicator is 100, then Italy’s performance equals the EU average. If the index is 90, its performance is 90% of (or 10% below) the EU average. If the index is 200, Italy’s performance is twice (or 200%) the EU average. For some indicators, such as early leavers from education and training, a country is performing better if its score is below the EU average.

• Data on which the index scores have been calculated are presented in Table 1, which also shows changes over time: [Score on VET indicators in Italy and in the EU, 2006, 2010 and 2011/12 (where available)]. A technical definition of each indicator is at:


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