Course funded by ESF to train Cyber Security Specialists
In the 2014-2020 period, the Tuscan ESF programme defined training profiles to be funded with grants. Partnerships can apply for funding by participating in call for proposals and selecting the focus of their tranining courses among a list of eligible profiles. The list is constantly updated based on market needs and in 2018 the profile on Network security and data protection was added. This is the 1st edition of a training course (post-secondary school) on Cybersecurity, promoted by a vocational training centre provider together with University of Florence, 2 secondary schools and 2 companies. The partnership led by PIN Prato built on a territorial need to draft a successful project proposal focusing on vocational training for Cyber Security Specialists. The target was not to train university level experts but to train technicians able to manage security of company networks, and to answer Industry 4.0 challenges including IoT. The training course had a 1 year duration with 800 hours covering theoretical and practical sessions in addition to an internship. It was designed for 20 people (employed or not employed with a secondary school degree or equivalent). The quality of the CV received convinced the organisers to enlarge the number of applicants to 22. It brought together training centres, IT companies and secondary schools under the monitoring activity of Tuscany Region. The course raised awareness among companies about the importance of protecting corporate networks/data.

Resources needed

118.514€ to set- up the programme and the vocational training courses. 100% funded by ESF with not extra costs for selected students.

Evidence of success

Many applicants selected it even if other training options were available.
Interest from outside Tuscany Region and from people already working (4)
+ 70 interested in the programme
57 interviewed (of which 8 women)
22 selected to participate (of which 5 women that qualified without the need of using the reserved quota)
In October 2019, out of the 17 unemployed participants: 9 were employed on a fixed term contract (different types of contracts); 5 got a paid internship.

Difficulties encountered

Not enough qualified trainers and teachers.
Difficulties in replicating the experience due to the rules of the new calls (only one project to be led by each Lead Partner, with PIN that invested in the main specialisation area of their territory – textile – instead of replicating this experience).

Potential for learning or transfer

- Project funded with ESF money that is available in all EU countries and, therefore, potentially replicable
- Bottom up approach made possible by the fact that the cybersecurity profile, among many others, is eligible for funding
- Good cooperation with companies interested in hosting internship that could be replicated in areas where a strong cybersecurity ecosystem exists
- Attention should be paid to the identification of expert teachers addressing the right topics (e.g. practical tools to train workers and not tools to train future researchers) and being in line with most recent developments of this ever evolving subject.
Main institution
Tuscany region
Start Date
October 2018
End Date
July 2019


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