Italy 4.0 lacks skills: training is needed

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Restore centrality totechnical-scientific education, from mandatory guidance to updating programs. Encourage the continuous training to the sound of ad hoc titles, enhancement of best practices And public-private collaboration. And define concrete quantitative goals on the training 4.0, with particular attention to higher technical institutes, engineering faculties and territorial divides. The three pillars of the New Deal of the skills of industry and agriculture, promoted on the occasion of the Forum from The European House – Ambrosetti from Cernobbioare the mirror of the delays that grip him digital development of our country and at the same time of the great development opportunities still to be seized. The reference to the historic reform plan launched by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s is justified by the numbers of the study entitled, not surprisingly, “Towards a New Deal on Agricultural and Industrial Skills”, prepared by The European House – Ambrosetti in collaboration with Philip Morris Italy. A report that reminds us once again of the side effects oflack of strategic skills for industry 4.0especially in the long term and especially in terms of competitiveness.

The research has set itself the goal of defining the essential ingredients for an effective relaunch of 4.0 skills in our country, which today is paying a strong delay on digital training, incoming and permanent. The analysts have X-rayed the main trends of digitization in two strategic sectors of the Italian system, the manufacture and theagriculture, to identify the skills actually required by the market. The good starting news is that already today 97% of manufacturing companies and 98% of agricultural companies involved have implemented digitalization projects of production processes. However, as soon as you enter the field of skills 4.0 the first differences and the first gaps emerge. For example, according to an ad hoc research conducted by The European House – Ambrosetti, farms are more satisfied with the contribution of the school system than manufacturing ones: 54% of farms are satisfied with the skills of graduates and 48% of those of high school graduates, while in the manufacturing sector the same indices stop at 40% and 26% respectively. “The challenges do not only concern the individual company but, increasingly, require ecosystemic and integrated approaches to transform challenges into opportunities – comments Valerio De Mollimanaging partner and CEO of The European House – Ambrosetti – The lack of skills is the main obstacle to the development of smart manufacturing and smart agriculture projects “.

From this last point of view, Italy is lagging behind and unfortunately this is nothing new. Particularly ruthless is the comparison with other European countries: our country is in fact in 24th place out of 27 in the index Digital economy and society index (Desi) of the European Commission, with a particularly disappointing performance on the human capital front. The country’s digital lag is explained precisely by the skills front, which sees Italy in the third last position in Europe, with just 46% of the adult population covered by basic digital skills. Among other things, the delay is confirmed and amplified by a number of other key indicators, including the number of graduates in ICT degree programs and in the so-called Stem disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which is also accompanied by an important gender gap (only 17% of ICT professionals are women).

Italy, the analysts of The European House – Ambrosetti note, also records a significant gap with international partners compared to post-school and continuing technical training. Just think of the fact that the number of members of the Italian ITS system (recently renamed Its Academy) would have to grow 40 times to keep up with the German one. As if that weren’t enough, Italy is particularly weak with respect to continuous training, which represents a key element in maintaining high competitiveness in a context of rapid technological and industrial change.

Going even deeper, we discover that today, in the field of intelligent agriculture, skills on sustainability, digital, communication and of course advanced technical skills are a priority. For manufacturing, on the other hand, the most technological skills are fundamental: ranging from artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and project management skills to soft skills, such as multidisciplinarity and entrepreneurship. Skills, competences and more skills, to be enhanced by focusing on the three pillars mentioned at the beginning: technical-scientific education, continuous training and the definition of quantitative objectives, which are truly measurable.

Between proposals suggested include themandatory orientation investment starting from the third year of high school to bring the Stem world to the first levels of schooling, la redefinition of paths and programs with a view to greater alignment with the needs of businesses, and still touch quota 200 thousand registered in ITS to close the gap with Germany. “Human capital is today the key element of business competitiveness and economic growth – underlines the spokesperson for the initiative Claudio De Vincenti, president of Aeroporti di Roma – This is the decisive factor, both in terms of the ability of individuals and of work organization, both at the level of the company and of the economic and social system, to translate the same investments in physical capital into innovation and development real. Education system, continuous training and public-private interaction are not only socially meritorious, but are essential conditions for growth “.

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Graphic by Silvano Di Meo

Re-launch tests

Over 48 million euros for the 2022/2023 training year and a total allocation of 1.5 billion euros from 2022 to 2026, to increase the number of members and strengthen the training structures. There reform of higher technical institutes, which is preparing to go into full operation after the final approval of Parliament last July, aims to relaunch a training front that has been largely underestimated over the years. The Its (not to be confused with the Itis, the state industrial technical institutes), or rather the new Its Academies, will have among their tasks the strengthening and expansion of the professional training of technicians with specialized skills.

Among the innovations envisaged by the reform, the introduction of an initial and periodic accreditation system as a condition for access to public funding, the revision of the technological areas of reference, the redefinition of the governance of the institutes, the definition of the requisites of teachers and the strengthening of the usability of the qualification. Each institute must be characterized by the reference to a specific technological area.

The article is in Italian

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