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Many young people in Italy look forward to starting work and learning a trade, and the majority who don't go on to higher education enter an apprenticeship (apprendistato) or vocational training. Over half a million young people in Italy are involved in apprenticeship schemes each year. An apprenticeship aims to give people between the ages of 16 and 26 a combination of on-the-job training and further education, with around four hours per day spent on practical training and three-and-a-half in theoretical training at an apprentice training centre.

Apprenticeships last from 18 months to four years and cover a huge range of occupations, including waitresses, cooks, plumbers, carpenters, hairdressers, car mechanics and agricultural workers. Employers pay apprentices 80 per cent of the salary of a fully-qualified worker, which increases with age and experience. They also pay for schooling and sometimes the cost of travel to and from school. Apprentices are entitled to the same holiday periods as fully qualified staff.

Another kind of vocational training is a combined training and work contract (contratto di formazione lavorativa/CFL) for those aged between 16 and 23, whereby employers provide a training programme for a specific professional qualification as part of a fixed-period employment contract. Contracts last either one or two years and include an initial trial period. The state pays insurance contributions but employment isn't guaranteed at the end of the training period.

Careers advice for young people is available via the nationwide network of Informagiovani offices.

This excerpt has been republished with permission from Survival Books. Some of the information may apply to EU citizens only. If you would like to get the inside track on moving to Italy, pick up your copy of this great book by clicking here.


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