They include post-degree courses (specialist diplomas, masters and doctorates) and a wide range of vocational training courses. Courses
vary in length from a few months to two or three years and may be either full or part-time.
Many further education courses are vocational ( corsi di formazione professionale) and aim to facilitate access to employment through a mixture of practical and theoretical training. Courses are either first level (aimed at school-leavers who haven’t attained a secondary school diploma) or second level (for holders of specific qualifications such as a secondary school diploma or a university degree).
Many courses are targeted at job-seekers and employees wishing to specialise or re-qualify in order to obtain a new position. Applicants usually outnumber available places and you may be required to sit an admission test. Courses for secondary school diploma holders normally consist of between 400 and 1,200 hours’ tuition for five hours per day and usually include placement periods in industry.
Free courses are available in some deprived regions (funded in association with the European Social Fund) for certain categories of people, including the unemployed, graduates seeking work, young people who have failed to complete compulsory schooling and the disabled. Details can be obtained from regional education offices, vocational training centres, the information sections of trade union offices, local newspapers or by browsing through regional websites. Information about further education can also be obtained from regional Centro di Informazione e Orientamento (CIO) offices.
A number of educational institutions in Italy offer an American MBA degree, e.g. St John’s University in Rome and the Bocconi University in Milan. Subjects include banking, business administration, communications, economics, information systems, management, marketing, public relations, and social and political studies. Tuition costs are high and study periods strictly organised, most courses being taught in English.
Another institution offering further education courses in English is the European University Institute in Florence. Founded in 1972, the Institute offers postgraduate courses and research opportunities in the field of human and social sciences. Admission is merit-based and courses are open to students from all EU and some other European countries with a high mark in a first degree.
The British Open University, The Open University, CP 1141, 20101 Milan (Tel. 02-8138 048) offers distance learning degree courses (from BA to MBA – a choice of over 150 courses) to residents of the EU and Switzerland.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Italy from Survival Books.