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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.4 Career guidance and counselling

Last update: 19 March 2024

Career counselling and guidance services

The most recent reforms of the labour services have aimed at the integration and coordination of education, training and work with the production system. Professional guidance and consultancy services are also provided thanks to the instrumental support of the Labour Information System (SIUL), through which the regional network of Employment Centres is managed, and the characteristics of users and policy actions are monitored, activities started and services provided. The SIUL is made up of national and regional coordination nodes, as well as a single portal for registration to the national network of services for employment policies (Article 13, paragraph 4, Legislative Decree 150/2015). The portal gives access to employment services, as well as the location for the use of information and basic remote services (orientation and basic training). At the same time, it can provide unitary tools to the operators of the Employment Services.

The current framework of employment services retains a strong regional peculiarity. The Regions, through the Regional Agencies or through governance models based on a network of accredited subjects, are holders of the territorial articulation of services and the implementation of labour policies in the respective local systems and ensuring compliance with the essential levels of performance defined at a national level.

The system is structured as follows:

  • The Employment Centres are public structures which, on the mandate of the Regions and Provinces, favour the meeting between the demand and supply of work in the territory, informing, orienting and giving free advice to those who are looking for a job. They also carry out administrative activities such as enrollment to mobility lists as well as lists and rankings of protected categories, registration of recruitment, transformation and termination of employment relationships with private companies and public bodies.
  • Employment Agencies are private structures (partnerships, corporations, and cooperatives) authorised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies to offer services related to labour supply and demand. They deal with: research and selection of personnel, intermediation between demand and supply of labour, supply of labour to companies.

Based on the type of activities for which they have been authorised, they are divided into Agencies of:

  • administration: of a generalist type (when they provide temporary and indefinite labour) and of a specialist type (when they perform permanent administration activities exclusively for the permitted activities);
  • intermediation: they carry out mediation between work supply and demand, and deal with the collection of curricula, the preselection, the promotion and management of the match between labour demand and supply the training;
  • search and selection of workers;
  • support for professional relocation;
  • other authorised operators (e.g. public and private universities, secondary education and training institutions, municipalities, chambers of commerce, employers’ associations and trade unions, bilateral bodies and patronages, non-profit organisations whose purpose is to protect work), can carry out intermediation activities.

The integrated reform in the field of active labour and training policies (GOL) is accompanied by a specific intervention to strengthen the system of Employment Centres, in order to favour processes to improve the supply of quality services -, analysis of skills needs , definition of individual training plans, effective reception, orientation and care services. The resources have already been allocated to the regions for 400 million euros on the basis of the additional staff units provided in the National Employment Centre Strengthening Plan, financed from national resources (art. 12, par. 3 -bis, Legislative Decree 4/2019 and art. 1, co. 258, l. 145/2018). Operator training interventions and other intervention priorities are provided by the Regions as part of the Regional Employment Centres Strengthening Plans, in line with the guidelines contained in the National Plan (Ministerial Decree May 22, 2020). The additional resources (200 million euros) are functional to the implementation of initiatives to strengthen the Employment Centres:

  • Structural investments to favour the proximity of services
  • Development of regional labour market observatories to facilitate meeting between supply and demand
  • Interoperability of regional and national information systems
  • Design and implementation (also through distance learning - FAD) of Training interventions for updating the skills of workers
  • Needs analysis (for example on the issues of service standards, consultation of the Unified Information System, alignment of skills with the needs of companies)
  • Promotion of skills identification, validation and certification services (IVC) as part of the National Skills Certification System)
  • Design and implementation of the contents and communication channels of the services offered
  • Promotion of the territorial integration of employment services with other services, especially social ones and those for education and training.

Regarding the youth target, the guidance and professional advice actions take on particular importance in the context of the programs currently active in the fight against unemployment and inactivity, with particular reference to Youth Guarantee [see 3.6].

Universities also play a supporting role in the transition to the labour market for young people. Under the pressure of EU initiatives aimed at reforming education and training policies, and in the direction of a closer connection with the world of work, universities are approaching the production system through offices and placement services. As required by the regulations (Law 276/2003 and Law 183/2010), Italian universities have created databases gathering the curriculum vitae of the graduates in order to favour the match between labour demand and supply, consolidating the role of the University as a subject capable of carrying out intermediation activities.

The databases represent a fundamental tool for universities to build a communication channel between students and the production system. Almost all Italian universities provide for a variety of interventions aimed at the labour integration of young people, with particular recurrence to the tool of internships in companies. The balance of competences, guidance and actions aimed at implementing self-entrepreneurship are much less practised.

Regarding the transversal activities to support the upgrading of the competences of the guidance practitioners of the education, training and work systems, on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, ANPAL has been part of the National Contact Point of the European Euroguidance Network since 2017 and provides information and training activities on transnational mobility throughout the country for operators in the education, training and work systems.


There are several sources of funding at national and regional levels for career guidance, which is also supported through the European Social Fund (ESF).

Sources of documentation include:

● the Explanatory Budget Note for the year 2021 and for the three year period 2021-2023

● the Documents relating to the Youth Guarantee Program [cfr. 3.6].

● the Mission 5 of PNRR and related sub-missions.

Quality control system

As part of its institutional prerogatives, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies carries out statistical analyses on the labour market, social security and social protection.

ANPAL published in 2019 the first joint annual report on active policies in Italy within which the provision of guidance services by the CPI is also monitored.

Another important document distributed periodically is the Annual report on the dynamics of the employee and semi-subordinate labour market, made by Ministry of Labour, Inps, Inail, Istat and Anpal, which, through an interinstitutional agreement, process their respective data in order to produce "Quarterly notes on labour market trends" providing a joint reading of the various sources.