Guidance System in Italy


In Italy career guidance is provided by a variety of public and private players (PES, VET providers, schools and higher education institutions, chambers of commerce) and activities are carried out mainly in the education and the employment systems but also in other settings. At local level, the role of regions is central to defining regional guidelines, providing funding and supporting local guidance systems.

With reference to the educational system, which the Ministry of Education and Merit (MIM) is competent for, schools play a central role in guidance processes as they promote and implement, either independently or in cooperation with public and private actors, activities aimed at building and strengthening specific guidance skills.

The employment system falls partly under the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies (MLPS), which defines the general guidelines for career guidance, partly under the 21 Regional Authorities and Autonomous Provinces, which are sovereign in this policy area. As a result, regional and local Authorities organise and manage autonomously career guidance activities, which are providedby a variety of Public Employment Services (PES) - approximately 800 across the country- such as:

  • employment centres
  • local career guidance centres
  • “Informagiovani” points (youth-targeted information centres).

Many vocational training agencies also provide guidance services helping young people to choose their own educational pathway and integration into the labour market.

As for the private sector, according to the Chambers of Commerce Reform Act (25.11.2016), chambers of commerce are entrusted with career guidance functions also through cooperation with public and private competent bodies.

Career guidance services are also offered in work-based contexts both by employers and trade unions organisations.



The key guidance policy goals are set out in the National guidelines for lifelong guidance (Ministry of Education, 2014) which were shared with all stakeholders and relevant institutions, taking into account the Agreement between Government, regional and local authorities on: “Definition of Guidelines of national lifelong Guidance system“, the Italian Youth Guarantee implementing Plan and the EU objectives. The above-mentioned guidelines establish a general framework for the development of educational guidance via two main measures:

  • guidance-oriented teaching, aimed at building basic guidance skills by developing key competences - knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help learners find personal fulfilment and, later in life, find work and take part in society
  • supporting actions for youngsters to enable them to build their own life path and to take meaningful decisions.

To promote operational and systematic guidance processes, each educational institution should provide:

  • a guidance activities coordinator
  • training modules for in-service teachers on lifelong and lifewide guidance
  • documentation of implemented guidance activities
  • awareness-raising and training initiatives family addressed to help them to support students.

In October 2019 the Italian Ministry of Education published the Guidelines on Pathways for transversal skills for guidance purposes (MIUR, 2019). Such pathways replace what used to be referred to as "school-to-work" transition pathways. The Guidelines highlight the guidance potential of these pathways, as they help students make more informed choices about their personal and social development, based on a self-guidance approach.

Under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the Guidelines for guidance in education (Ministry of Education, 2022) were adopted last December as part of the reform of the guidance system. The aim was to build a structured and coordinated guidance system capable of ensuring a lifelong learning and training process.

The guidelines set three main objectives to:

  • strengthen the connection between the first and the second cycle of education and training
  • combat early school leaving
  • foster access to tertiary education

They also introduce some new features, including:

  • development in secondary schools of guidance modules to support students in making a comprehensive and interdisciplinary synthesis of their school and training experience. The modules - of at least 30 hours - may be designed and delivered along with schools and training agencies of the subsequent degrees of education (i.e. ITS Academies, universities, other tertiary educational institutions), local and regional authorities, and employment services. To document and monitor the modules, an E-Portfolio will be used. The last one integrates in a unique framework the school career and supports pupils and families in identifying the students’ strengths within the educational path.
  • identification, by each institution, of a classroom teacher, acting as a mentor to students and as advisor to families in choosing courses and future career paths.
  • a focus on guidance topics in teachers’ training. In addition, specific training initiatives, also coordinated by ad hoc support units, are planned for mentor teachers in first and second level secondary schools.
  • activation of a single digital guidance platform for students and families, including information and data for a well-informed choice in the first-to-second cycle transition and information on the tertiary training provision at national and local level.
  • identification, in each educational institution, of a liaison figure capable of facilitating the prosecution of further education, access to work and skills and job matching.


Services and Practice

Guidance within the educational system: targeted at students aged 14-19 and provided by class teachers and school counsellors consist of activities aimed at improving self-knowledge about personal capacities, attitudes, and expectations. In this context, guidance also supports the design of personal goals within education and working life. According to national law n.107/2015, to ensure a smoother transition into the labour market, upper secondary school in all thematic fields (from grammar schools to vocational institutes) are requested to provide school-to-work transition pathways; these are conceived as a guidance tool for students by enabling them to know different work-based contexts and therefore to choose the right training opportunity.

Guidance in Higher Education: most universities are equipped with Career Guidance Offices, supporting students in choosing the most appropriate training pathway and in getting an overall picture of labour market trends and related job opportunities. Some universities also provide information about their training provision via job and career fairs or via “Open Days “. In this area, universities may be supported by research centres, professional associations, associations of enterprises, etc.

Career Guidance within the employment system is mainly carried out by PES managed by Regions; PES offer an array of activities ranging from information services, guidance, and counselling to support during the job search and/or placement (apprenticeship, traineeship). All services are provided on the basis of the user’s specific needs (young adults with problems in entering the labour market, unemployed people, laid off people, women returnees, people aged 45 and above, etc.).

For Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs) aged 15–29, the EU Youth Guarantee Initiative offers specific measures. Italy has a dedicated National Operational Programme for NEETs, which envisages 9 standard actions defined at national level, including guidance and counselling activities, training, traineeships, and civil service.

In order to reach out to a wider and younger audience, web-based platforms and databases have recently been created by MIUR, MLPS, Regional Authorities and Autonomous Provinces, universities (i.e. AlmaLaurea InterUniversity Consortium), associations of enterprises, bilateral agencies and chambers of commerce. Some platforms provide students with information necessary to make sound educational and training decisions, while others are specifically designed to support labour demand/supply matching.



In Italy there are no formal requirements to become a guidance practitioner, who is usually selected on the basis of a professional background which should prove medium/high educational level (diploma or University degree) and completion of training including sociological, psychological, economical and psycho-pedagogical studies (graduate and post-graduate courses in Economics, Law, Psychology, Political Sciences, Science of Education) and a field experience. In addition, is quite common to have completed further training focused on guidance, usually promoted by the Ministry of Education, schools, vocational training agencies and PES. Some Regions also organize long-term further education programmes for employees working in the guidance sector. Finally, guidance training courses addressed to practitioners of vocational training agencies and other associations have been organised.


Research and Development

At national level there is no specific institution dedicated to conducting studies and research on lifelong guidance issues. Ministry od Education promotes research on related themes in cooperation with national research institutes and academic centres. In addition, single universities, associations of enterprises and private organisations carry out research activities in the context of projects receiving financial support from national resources and more often EU funds.

Last updated at: July 2023