Apprenticeship in Italy

Apprenticeship is an open-ended employment contract aimed at youth training and employment, governed by Legislative Decree 15 June 2015, n. 81 and subsequent amendments (articles 41-47).

It is divided into three types:

  • apprenticeship for professional qualification and diploma, upper secondary education diploma and higher technical specialization certificate, for young people aged 15 to 25, aimed at achieving one of the aforementioned qualifications in the workplace;
  • vocational apprenticeship, for young people aged between 18 and 29, aimed at learning a trade or attaining a professional qualification;
  • higher education and research apprenticeship, for young people aged between 18 and 29, aimed at obtaining university and higher education qualifications, including research doctorates, diplomas relating to higher technical institutes, by activity of research as well as for the apprenticeship for access to the ordinary professions.

The first and second types of apprenticeship pathways aim to ensure that, after graduation, their students have gained significant work experience in real-life conditions. ‘Work-based training’, i.e. the training system applied in technical colleges, has proven particularly effective in practice as a large number of students continue to work as employees in their previous training posts after graduation.

The main benefits for companies that hire with the apprenticeship contract are:

  • in terms of salary, the possibility of placing the worker up to 2 levels lower than that due under the national collective agreement of reference or, alternatively, to establish the apprentice’s salary as a percentage and proportionate to length of service ;
  • at the level of contributions, the possibility of benefiting from a preferential treatment up to the year following the continuation of the apprenticeship as an ordinary subordinate employment relationship;

the apprentice is not relevant for the purposes of reaching the numerical limits taken into consideration by laws and collective agreements for the application of specific regulations or institutes.

In addition, for first-level apprenticeship contracts for vocational qualification and diploma, upper secondary education diploma and certificate of higher technical specialization, stipulated in the year 2022, a 100 percent contribution relief is granted to employers employing up to 9 employees with reference to the contribution for the periods accrued in the first 3 years of the contract (Art. 1, paragraph 645, Budget Law 2022).

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