ITS Foundations are alliances of companies, schools and training bodies, to update workers' skills and to offer courses for highly specialized qualifications.
ITS (Higher Technical Education) Foundations are structured non-profit public-private bodies, which must include at least:
• upper secondary education technical institutions or professional orders
• local authorities (municipality, province, city subway, mountain community)
• training agencies/institutions accredited by the Regional Authority for higher education
• enterprises, particularly coming from the productive sector to which it refers the Higher Technical Institute and the Foundation itself
• university departments or other bodies belonging to the system of scientific and technological research
ITS are high-tech schools, connected to the production system of each geographical area, that prepare specialized middle managers who can help companies to use all opportunities of INDUSTRY 4.0.
ITS System was born in 2010 to create high technicians specialized in different strategic areas for economic development in Italy. Among the 103 ITS created in Italy, 7 were launched in Tuscany and focused on the following sectors:
• ITS PRIME - Mechanics and industrial automation
• ITS Energy and Environment
• ITS EAT – Food and agriculture
• ITS ISYL - Sustainable mobility (nautic, transports and logistic)
• ITS VITA – Life sciences
• ITS MITA - Fashion (Made in Italy Tuscany academy)
• ITS TAB – Tourism and cultural heritages

Resources needed

- 22 million euros
- 68 courses
- 1140 students
- 85% of graduates are occupied 12 months after the conclusion of the courses

Evidence of success

The positive data collected confirm that ITS are successful:
• The employment rate of ITS graduates reaches more than 80% one year after graduation.
• 7 ITS have been created in Tuscany: 3 during 2010 and 4 during 2015
• Although based in the 5 provinces (Florence, Siena, Grosseto, Lucca and Livorno), the Foundations can organize courses throughout the Region according to the requests and needs of the company.

Difficulties encountered

• Initial regional legislative support
• Initial involvement of the main actors involved
• Initial difficulty in drafting common implementation protocols
• Few students due to poor knowledge of the ITS system (communication issue).
• Persistent perception of the degree as a socially better goal

Potential for learning or transfer

The high degree of transferability emerges from the flexibility that ITS has as a prerogative. In fact, it is privileged an experiential didactics where learning is achieved through action and experimentation of situations, tasks, roles faced in situations of uncertainty and complexity, similar to everyday working reality, in a regional work context that requires students with such skills. For this reason, the ITS model can be adopted and modified according to the individual working needs highlighted by regional business realities.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Tuscany region
Toscana, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 2008
End Date


Please login to contact the author.