Professional training courses: what they are and how they work

Professional training courses help people improve the professional skills they already have and/or develop new skills. Having new skills can, in fact, increase the chance of finding a new job.

Professional courses, or corsi di formazione professionale in italian, help you obtain the knowledge and qualification you need in order to work in a specific field. The classes can be organized in theoretical and practical activities, depending on the course you choose.

It is important to remember that even those who do not have a degree or have a different work experience can participate in training courses. Some examples of professional training courses are: hairdresser, seamstress/tailor (sarto), skilled laborer (operaio), pizza maker, chef, healthcare assistant (OSS), etc.

Training courses can be short-term (lasting a few weeks) or longer term (1 year). This depends on the type of course you want to take. Attendance also depends on the type of course; for some you will have to go in person, while others are online courses. It is also possible to find evening or weekend courses.

Who organises the courses and who can participate?

Professional training courses are organised by private or public institutions, such as the  regions (Regioni) and municipalities (Comuni). Courses organized by private individuals usually have a cost, but often have higher quality. The courses organized by public institutions are also of good quality and most are free, but they are often aimed at specific categories of people such as unemployed, and young people who are not studying, working or attending training.

Both Italian and foreign citizens with basic knowledge of the Italian language can participate in the courses. In particular:

  • young people who are looking for their first job;
  • adults who are not working, or who have lost their jobs, and want to find a new one.

There are also other training courses for people who are working and want to improve their skills.

How much does the training cost?

Training courses may be free of charge or there may be a fee.
Free courses are often organised and sponsored by the Regione and Provincia to help unemployed or disadvantaged people enter (or reintegrate) into the job market.

Paid courses are often organised by private institutions. Some of the private offices providing training are recognised by the Regione or Provincia. Generally, if you choose a paid private course remember to check that the institution organizing the course is recognized (ente riconosciuto – accreditato).

When the organization is recognized it means that the Regione certifies the validity of the organization and the course. Therefore, the certificate that will be issued can be useful for seeking employment, for licences or certificates in line with regional and national laws.

What are the requirements to register for the courses?

This depends on the course you want to take. For some courses, unemployed people must be registered with the Employment Centre (Centro per l’Impiego) in their city and must be available for work (DID) (a certificate of availability to work). Read more about it on this page. A requirement of some courses for young people is the registration to the Garanzia Giovani program. Read more about it on this page.

It may also be necessary to submit other documents such as: copy of a regular permesso di soggiorno, carta di identità, codice fiscale, tessera sanitaria, or a school certificate, etc.

How to choose a courses?

It is important to choose a training course that meets your needs and that will help you with your future plans. In particular, for courses where you need to pay a fee, find out if:

  • the center organizing the course is recognized (riconosciuto);
  • you will be given a certificate at the end of the course;
  • you have to attend an internship.

Also, you could look for other information online (or on their website): reviews from other participants, how many people have attended, how many have actually found work, who are the teachers and their experiences, etc.

What are the advantages of taking these courses?

If you are looking for work, training courses can offer some advantages. For example:

  • Help you with the job search. As we have explored, there can be many free courses to choose from. So, if you are looking for a job and have some free time, acquiring new skills for a profession can increase the chances of finding a job in that field.
  • Networking & meeting new people. Training courses are a great opportunity to create a network that can help you with useful advice during the job search.
  • For some courses there is an internship period in a company. This is very important because it gives you the possibility of getting work experience and meeting people. Always find out before registering how long the course lasts and if there is an internship you will need to attend.
  • Receive a qualification or certificate of attendance. At the end of the course, a qualification is often given that certifies that you have participated in the training. If you apply for a job, this could further help you prove your skills.

What are the difficulties of training courses?

There are some limitations to consider when you want to take part in a training course. For this reason, it is important to be well informed. The difficulties could be:

  • Limited Places. When there are many requests for participation, there could be a selection process to select the participants.
  • Some courses that you may be interested in could have a high fee and be very expensive.
  • Participation in the course is reserved for a specific age group. It may happen that you find a good course, but do not fall within the age range to be able to enroll.
  • Participation in the course is reserved to people living in a specific area. The course could be reserved to people living in a specific region. In order to participate, you need to prove that you live in that area (domicilio – residenza).
  • Foreign qualifications recognized in Italy (riconoscimento titolo estero) could be a requirement. If you have a foreign certificate and you need to apply for it to be recognized, the process could take some time.
  • Limited absences allowed, you could be excluded from the course if you are absent too many times. Find out how many days of absences are allowed so that you do not risk being excluded from the course.

Where to find information on training courses?

To find training courses you can search in many places:

Employment Centres (Centri per l’Impiego) in your city. Centri per l’Impiego often organize free or paid training courses. Find out if they have any open courses and their requirements. Choose a course that is similar to your experience or what you would like to do. Find the Employment Centers in your city.

Employment agencies (Agenzie per il lavoro) also organize training courses for foreigners that are resident in Italy; for example, Randstad. To participate you may be required to register with the agency. Find the Agencies in your city.

Associations in your city offering job training for foreigners.
Search on Google: associazioni per stranieri + your city (for example Roma).
You can meet them in person or check on their website if they organize training courses. If you want to take a specific course you can send an email and ask if they do.

Online. There are websites that find training courses currently available (free or with a fee). You can also create your own profile and customize your search.
Search on Google: corsi di formazione professionale (gratuiti) + your city (for example Firenze).

Here are some free training courses divided by region:
Free Courses Region Lazio
Free Courses Region Lombardia
Free Courses Region Toscana
Free Courses Region Piemonte
Free Courses Region Campania
Free Courses Region Sicilia
Free Courses Region Veneto

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