The need to develop new skill cuts across all groups of the working-age population and concerns both hard skills (technical, professional and cross-sector digital skills), and soft skills or “knowing how to be”, which are more important compared to hard skills (85% compared to 15%). Training therefore becomes a strategic lever for skill development when it comes to lifelong learning, an essential aspect
for survival and competitiveness in an ever-changing labour market. Companies looking to invest in this process can now access three types of funded training schemes, the benefits of which are often little known: interprofessional funds, the new training bonus in the Transition 4.0 plan, and the new skills fund.
Interprofessional funds are used by more than 900,000 companies and around 10 million workers. Each year, these funds receive 659 million Euros, and around 357 million Euros are allocated through public announcements. This means that each company can take out much more than it pays in by drawing on the unused shares of other companies that forego this opportunity, for various reasons. Companies may not take up the funding offer if they do not recognise the value of training, because they are unaware of the opportunity, or because they do not know how to access it.
The training bonus is part of the national ‘Industry 4.0’ plan, which has also been renewed for 2022. It covers staff training on technologies relevant to the technological and digital transformation of businesses. The bonus covers areas such as cybersecurity, big data and data analysis, advanced and collaborative robotics and rapid prototyping. The tax credit entitlement accrued from the training provision is calculated according to company size. Training can either be delivered by in-house personnel or by accredited external providers.
Lastly, the new skills fund created and managed by the national employment agency ANAPL is a policy instrument that has already been fully utilised to the value of 730 million euros obtained from European funds and Recovery fund measures, and which already expects to see a refinancing of approximately 1 billion euros from the React-Eu programme. Thanks to this measure, companies will receive an advance of 70% of the amount requested as a
reimbursement (the balance is paid out on completion). The fund can be used an alternative
to the wages guarantee fund, and also to promote mobility and job transfers to other companies. The numbers point to the initiative’s success: more than 2,000 applications had been submitted by mid-May 2021. Currently, almost 154,000 workers are involved, 70% of them from companies with more than 250 employees. The take-up rate is clearly higher in northern Italy, where over 100,000 workers are taking part. To date, the active courses are mainly for business English and other languages, new technologies, communication, and remote team management.
“The interesting thing about these incentives is the option to use the interprofessional and new skills funds simultaneously, thus delivering the highest amount of available training for the main workforce and for managers. Most importantly, the training is completely free for the company. What’s more, costs will be fully covered, since the new skills fund reimburses the cost of labour for the hours during which employees are in training, while the interprofessional funds reimburse the costs of course management, obviously including the teaching,” commented Stern.
Nexumstp’s professionals work alongside companies that operate in the field of funded training, fundraising and training needs analysis. For example, Nexumstp collaborates with FonARCom, the interprofessional fund that finances continuous training for workers and managers, and for which Nexumstp is a proposer for the presentation of common training plans for enterprise systems. Thanks to this tool, groups of companies have the opportunity, through a mandated entity such as Nexumstp, to undertake training in the areas of international expansion, skills adaptation or workplace health and safety, by taking advantage of important synergies.