Brief description of the context of the VET system in Italy

Compulsory education in Italy lasts for ten years (from ages 6 to 16) and includes the first cycle of education and the first two years of upper secondary school, or the three-/four-year paths of vocational education and training for which Regions have competences. All young people who finish compulsory education and training (at age 16) have a right/duty (diritto/dovere) to education and training for at least 12 years (from age 6 to 18) either in the upper secondary school or until they have gained a professional qualification through the three-/four-years training paths managed by the Regions and Autonomous Provinces or through a specific apprenticeship scheme.

Post-secondary (non-tertiary) education and training is organised by the higher technical education and training system, articulated in two different training pathways offered by Higher Technical Institutes (ITS - Istituti Tecnici Superiori) and by Higher Technical Education and Training (IFTS Istruzione e Formazione Tecnica Superiore).

At the completion of the secondary education, young people can enter higher education consisting of the university system, organised on the cycles of the Bologna process: a first- level degree after three-year courses (bachelor's), a second-level at the completion of two more years (master's), a doctorate lasting usually three years.

All young people who have left the education system and are going to enter the labour market can get a VET qualification within the vocational training system managed by the Regions. IVET courses usually last one year, although there are a few two-year courses. The programmes are targeted at young people, according to their general education qualifications; we distinguish between first level (for those who have just completed compulsory education), second level (see earlier) and third level courses (for those with a tertiary level education).

Finally, there are some apprenticeship programmes for young people from ages 15 to 29. In the main apprenticeship programme, young people are awarded a vocational qualification designed in the collective bargaining; there are two small programmes to get a diploma or other qualifications from the secondary and/or higher education system. For adults, employed or unemployed, there is a CVET system that is publicly funded, together with a large range of courses in almost all sectors provided by private providers; these are not considered in the following overview.

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