The need to develop new skills is one that 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% vs 15%). Training therefore becomes a strategic lever for skill development when it comes to lifelong learning, a fundamental aspect for surviving and being competitive in an ever-evolving job market. Companies can now access three types of funded training tools so that they can invest in this process, the mechanisms and advantages of which are often unknown: 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. Every 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 far more than it pays in by drawing on the unused shares of other companies that, for various reasons, forego this opportunity. 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, and has been renewed again for 2022. The bonus 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 generated by training provision is calculated according to company size. Training can either be delivered by in-house personnel or by accredited external providers. Lastly there is the new skills fund created and managed by the national employment agency ANPAL; this policy instrument has already been fully utilised to the value of 730 million euros, obtained from European funding and Recovery fund projects, and a refinancing of approximately 1 billion euros is expected from the React-EU programme. Thanks to this measure, companies will receive a 70% contribution towards the reimbursable amount (the balance will be paid on completion). The fund can be used as an alternative to the wages guarantee fund, and also to promote mobility or re-employment projects. The numbers point to the success of the initiative: by mid-May 2021, more than 2000 applications had been submitted. Currently, the scheme involves almost 154,000 workers, 70% of whom belong to companies with more than 250 employees. The take-up is clearly higher in northern Italy, where over 100,000 workers are taking part. The courses currently on offer mainly include Business English and other languages, new technologies, communications and remote team management.
“The interesting thing about these incentives is that the interprofessional and new skills funds can be used simultaneously, to deliver the highest amount of available training for the main body of the 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 Degortes Nexumstp’s professionals work alongside companies that operate in the field of funded training, fundraising and training requirements analysis. One of Nexumstp’s partners in this field is FonARCom, an interprofessional fund that supports continuous training for workers and managers, and for which Nexumstp acts as proponent in the presentation of common training plans for business clusters. Thanks to this scheme, groups of companies can take advantage of important synergies to access training through a mandated entity such as Nexumstp, in the areas of international expansion, skills adaptation and workplace health and safety and safety and prevention in the workplace.