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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana

Research Structure 6 – Professional tertiary training for the production system and national strategic technological areas. Skills development models for the world of work: Higher Technical Institutes (ITSs)

The research activity arises from the fact that the last decade has seen in our country the establishment and rapid development of Professional Tertiary Education, exemplified in the Higher Technical Institutes (ITSs). Their aim is to reduce the gap between the offer and the demand for new professional skills by companies; and to make up for Italy’s delay, compared to most of the more industrialized countries, in the field of professional tertiary training.

A gap also caused by a historical phase characterized today by the profound technological changes related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which are pushing companies towards the digitization and automation of production processes, rapidly disrupting the nature of work. A challenge for the professional tertiary system that the ITSs seem to have taken up, as it is shown by some data of the national INDIRE monitoring:

  1. graduates’ employment level (80%);
  2. consistency of employment with the course of education completed (92%);
  3. graduates’ degree of satisfaction (81%) with a significant appreciation for teachers’ quality (94.1%);
  4. the very close relationship that links ITSs to industry 4.0 enabling technologies (55% of courses).

Quantitative analyses are the priority action of the institutional task assigned to the Structure: national monitoring of ITSs and performance and identification of the ranking for evaluation. On the side-lines of this institutional task, the Structure carries out research activities with the aim of understanding and representing the ITS system by describing its functional elements and standardising its distinctive characteristics.

General objectives

  1. Analysing the quality of the ITSs training offer and the internal structures which are functional to the employability processes;
  2. Identifying and analysing the didactic and organizational experiences that are distinctive of the ITS training model with a training and occupational impact for the world of work 4.0 and the new economy;
  3. To elaborate and disseminate guidelines for the ITS system for the transferability of good practices related to the ITS model, by supporting and accompanying its development;
  4. Exploring scalability and experimenting with the application of some elements of the ITS model to upper secondary schools.


Research questions

  • How are the activities characterizing the ITS model interdependent with respect to the ordering criterion of employability?
  • How do enabling technologies 4.0 impact on the organizational and educational activities of ITSs?
  • What are the organizational and didactic elements of excellence typical of the activities of ITSs contexts? What are the critical situations that compromise their institutional mission that can be recognised starting from the analysis of specific experiences, also in order to identify elements of transferability in the high school system?
  • Is it possible, through participatory and accompanying forms of research, to support the exchange between the actors and deepen the knowledge of the system, for the purpose of its internal improvement, the dissemination of best practices and therefore of transferability and scalability also in a subsidiarity perspective in the supply chain and in the territory?



Context – Target population

Direct targets: ITSs foundations, companies, universities, teachers, tutors, students, technical-scientific committees, directors, presidents of foundations, Ministry of Education, regions.

Indirect targets: Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE), Chambers of Commerce, Confindustria, National Assembly of ITSs.


Institutional collaborations and research collaborations


  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Economic Development
  • Regions
  • IX Education, University and Research Commission
  • Leonardo Company
  • Confindustria
  • Tampere University (Finland)