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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.3 Skills forecasting

Last update: 19 March 2024

Forecasting systems

The current legislative framework on labour policies provides for the development of analytical institutes and labour market observatories at a regional level. The information systems managed by these study centres allow for the construction and analysis of historical data series on local market trends, also applicable for the construction of forecasting models through which to estimate the evolution of the demand for competences.

The Excelsior Information System, created by Unioncamere and the ANPAL, has been one of the main sources available in Italy on labour market and training issues since 1997 and is included among the official surveys with response obligations provided by the National Statistical Program.

The system provides for monthly surveys of private companies. The sample data are appropriately integrated into a specific forecasting model that evaluates, in a historical series, the data obtained from administrative sources on employment such as the EMens systems (information on insurance at work), INPS (on social security contributions) and Centres for employment (from the newly hired and job seekers) linked to the Business Register.

The data collected by Excelsior provide updated, systematic and reliable knowledge of the job demand expressed by companies in terms of consistency, territorial distribution, size and sector. In addition, the survey outlines the main characteristics of the professional figures required (education, age, experience, difficulty in finding, need for further training and competences), allowing for the reconstruction of the most required profiles in local labour markets.

In relation to the forecasting of the need to update the competencies of employed people, in 2017 INAPP carried out the PEC Survey (Professions and competences in companies, former Audit on needs) on a representative sample of 35 thousand companies with at least one employee. The data deriving from the PEC survey feed the information system Profession Occupation and Needs which gives detailed information on the job content of all the existing professions in the labour market at a national level and the related updating needs of knowledge and competences.

Another important survey conducted by INAPP is the PLUS (Participation, Labour, Unemployment) Survey, conducted every year and that focuses on specific aspects of the job market, like the entrance of young people in the workforce or rate of female participation.

Skills development

At a national level, the skills development system is regulated by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education and Merit, while at a local level the Regions are involved based on the exclusive legislative competence in the field of training and professional education.

Since 2012, the Government has been committed to building a system for identifying, validating and certifying skills that support citizens to valorise and spend the skills acquired in a specific geographical context, in the European labour market and in education and training systems. The Europe 2020 strategy places the development of knowledge, skills and competences as a prerequisite for economic growth and employment, in order to improve entry and progression in the labour market, facilitate transitions between work and learning phases, and promote geographical and professional mobility. Enhancing the competences acquired through each learning, even those that take place outside the places traditionally assigned to this (school and university), is a very important topic. Law 92/2012 (Fornero Law) regulates the national skills certification system, delegating to the Government the definition of general rules and essential levels of performance for the identification, validation and certification of learning acquired in non-formal and informal contexts.

With their integration, the rules introduced starting from 2012 have launched a systemic and regulatory reform process, providing for a set of provisions for lifelong learning that include the definition of the essential levels of performance for the identification and validation of non-formal and informal learning (see Legislative Decree 13/2013) and the minimum service standards of the National Competency Certification System.

Article 8 of Legislative Decree 13/2013, established the “National Directory of education and training qualifications and professional qualifications” which is the unitary reference framework for the certification of skills at a national level. The National Directory is made up of all the repertoires of education and training qualifications and professional qualifications codified by a public body holding at a national, regional or autonomous province level, publicly recognized and meeting the minimum standards.

In function of its progressive reorganisation, the National Directory adopts the Atlas of Labour and Qualifications as a device for the systematisation of information. It is the result of an intense collaboration and participation of various institutional subjects, involving in different phases employers and trade unions, bilateral representations, professional associations, sectoral experts and labour system stakeholders.

The Atlas consists of two ordering tools:

- the National Qualifications Framework, which correlates the qualifications so as to obtain a descriptive taxonomy of the EU, national and regional systems of the formal lifelong learning offer, while also identifying the different levels of complexity;

- the Classification of economic-professional sectors, correlates the qualifications with regard to a description of the contents of work and professions, while also promoting a better response to the needs for change and innovation expressed by the labour market.

It is organised in three sections:

  • Work Atlas which describes the contents of the work in 24 professional economic sectors following a scheme that identifies work processes, process sequences, areas of activity (ADA) and specific activities for each sector.
  • Atlas and professions which collects the regulated professions (Directive 2005/36 / EC and subsequent additions), the Repertoire of apprenticeship professions (consisting of all the profiles present in the National Collective Labour Agreements related to the professionalising apprenticeship), the Associations professionals (Law 4/2013) that bring together the professions not organised into orders or colleges.
  • Atlas and qualifications that collect the qualifications awarded in the various areas of the lifelong learning system in the same framework: School, Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education and Regional Vocational Training.

The Atlas is therefore the “map” that connects the world of work and the education, training and learning systems.

With the Interministerial Decree of 30 June 2015, regarding the definition of an “Operational framework for the recognition at a national level of regional qualifications”, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies and the Ministry of Education and Merit have taken note of the set of rules and procedures defined by the Regions in order to make usable the skills and qualifications validated or certified throughout the national territory.

It is the Decree and the related technical annexes that define the phases of the skills recognition process managed by the accredited entities for work services. The process unfolds in three stages:

  1. The identification of the skills: it is the path of reconstruction of the experiences of the person and their organisation through the development of a “Document to support the transparency of the skills acquired”
  2. The validation of skills is a process that allows access to qualifications (understood as aggregates of competences or individual competencies) through a reconstruction and evaluation of formal, non-formal and informal learning. This opportunity is an integral part of the skills certification system. Therefore, the identification, validation and certification of the skills acquired in non-formal and informal contexts must be understood as an alternative way to the formal one to obtain the qualifications (intended as aggregates of competences or single competencies). The qualifications obtained through validation are potentially accessible even in a formal context and vice versa.
  3. The certification of skills is defined as the procedure and final act of release of the qualifications (intended as aggregates of competences or single competencies). The document always has the value of a third party or is issued on the responsibility of the Entity holder with the support of those who carry out the service as an authorised body. The certification, if it refers to non-formal and informal learning, normally follows the identification and validation process, except in cases where this is not considered appropriate due to lack of conditions or actual need by the concerned citizen.

In order to guarantee the usability of certified skills at a European level, the Decree of 8 January 2018 established the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as a means of connection to the European Qualification Framework (EQF). The National Qualifications Framework uniquely defines a series of descriptors for the 8 levels of qualifications, identifying which types of knowledge, skills and autonomy/responsibility are attributable to each level.

Furthermore, the MIUR (Ministry of Education and Merit) promotes the National Strategic Plan to Guarantee the competences of the adult population. This is a programming plan of multi-year operational interventions, focused on some specific intervention guidelines consistent with the actions already implemented by the institutional subjects that make up the interinstitutional group (Ministry of Labour, MIUR, Regions and Autonomous Provinces, ANCI and UPI) and other socio-economic actors involved in the sector.

Within GOL there is also a precise objective regarding training with the funding of the so called Dual system, learning based on the alternation of training moments "in classrooms" (in a training institution) with moments of practical training in "working contexts" (in companies / organisation), thus favouring transition policies between the world of school and the world of work, allowing young people to orient themselves in the labour market by acquiring skills and shortening the transition times between the training and the professional experience.

Together with the GOL, the PNRR includes in its MISSION 5 the adoption of the New National Competences Plan, promoted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in collaboration with ANPAL and in agreement with the Regions, with the aim of reorganising the training of transitioning and unemployed workers by strengthening the system of professional training and the definition of essential quality levels for upskilling and reskilling activities in favour of:

  • beneficiaries of support instruments (NASPI and DIS-COLL);
  • beneficiaries of the citizenship basic income and of workers who benefit from extraordinary instruments or in wage supplement waiver (CIGS, fund for termination of activity, waivers in areas of complex crisis).

The Plan will also integrate other initiatives, regarding measures in favour of young people - such as strengthening the dual system (see investment 1.5) - and NEETs, as well as actions for adult skills, starting with people with very low skills.