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THE ICE INITIATIVES FOR FOREIGN OPERATORS TRAINING
ICE, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (www.italtrade.com), does not only guarantee support and promotion for the internationalisation of Made in Italy products. For the last 30 years the Institute has also watched over the training industry with initiatives aimed at directors, managers and foreign businessmen, for developing countries and for countries with planned economies currently in the process of privatization and/or internationalisation of their business systems. In 2007, ICEs International Projects and Training area carried out 31 initiatives for a total of 403 training days (2.444 hours of training). The number of foreign participants was over 1.500.
In relation to training ICE organised three types of projects: training courses for public and private managers for learning more about management themes and international exchanges, stages and "study tours"; training courses for economic operators centred on themes regarding specific sectors of industry that were organised in relation to agreements with territorial Bodies regarding programmes; itinerant seminars, conventions and round tables. Regarding the former, the training was aimed at permitting the participants to develop ‚Äď through the communication of theoretical elements and direct experience ‚Äď direct learning about Italy‚Äôs economy and industry. The periods centred on themes related to specific sectors of industry were instead occasions for going into more detail regarding specific problems relevant to individual sectors of the economy. There were also seminars and conventions organised abroad that were additional opportunities to focus on subjects of particular relevance: they were principally aimed at businessmen, public managers and managers of companies of the partner countries.
To go into detail, the range of ICE services in 2007 included nine institutional training courses (aimed at managers of companies and entrepreneurial associations and managers of organisations involved in internationalisation); one training course paid for by special funds for starting-up Made in Italy projects in Russia; two training courses regarding specific sectors of industry, for operators working in Serbia‚Äôs tourist industry and for operators working in Albania‚Äôs fishing industry; four initiatives related to agreements regarding programmes, agreed with Regional Authorities and co-financed by ICE; three cooperation programmes with Bodies, Universities and companies along with the academic world and with business ventures that were funded by study grants; ten seminars regarding specific international trade subjects related to the new economy; two "study tours" organised in response to the specific requests of foreign organisations, which were not included in the ordinary programmes.
In recent years the Institute has extended its range of training services by preparing initiatives focused on the development of closer relationships between Italian companies and foreign economic operators. Thus, activities in preparation of the development of cooperation agreements with Made in Italy companies have been run side along with traditional training activities.
In practical terms, the current training format has been maintained, but ad-hoc training courses and/or seminars, including ones related to specific manufacturing sectors have been added to it. In this way, the activities were focused on the sectors of industry that are the most interesting ones in respect of Italian exports.
In order to achieve the objective of creating a balance regarding training in areas relevant to Italian exports, ICE defines priorities in the preparation of training programmes according to a series of elements, including the following: the potential of relevant markets; the existence of real opportunities for Italian companies in relation to foreign competition; the perspective of short and medium term development of sectors of industry in which Italian companies are competitive; the start-up of a loyalty process versus Italian companies on behalf of local businessmen; the continuity of programmes that have already been started-up, so as to give training activities a medium term impact that can consolidate what has already been achieved.