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I.C.E. TRAINING: PATHWAYS TO DISCOVERING THE ITALIAN PRODUCTION MODEL
The international training programme offered by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (I.C.E.) has become a key strategic driver in the promotion of the Italian production model in international markets. The programme covers certain specialist subjects and is built around the theme of internationalisation. Courses are primarily aimed at managers, entrepreneurs and public officials from selected countries; countries are chosen on the basis of the priorities that emerge from their strategic lines, shared cultural characteristics, possible collaboration agreements and the potential to develop trade relations.
When it comes to I.C.E.‚Äôs training activities, the Institute takes great pride in offering scholarships to young graduates from abroad. Following the signing of an Operational Agreement by I.C.E./Unioncamere and in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, overseas graduates can gain access to postgraduate and master's courses at some of the best universities in Italy.
45 initiatives were introduced to the international training programme in 2008 alone, including 18 international training courses; four collaboration programmes with regions, institutions, universities and businesses; the provision of 264 scholarships; 19 seminars on international trade matters relating to the New Economy; two organised study tours (not included in the ordinary programming) available to foreign bodies upon request; and finally, two partnering projects with foreign companies to assess collaboration projects involving Italian firms.
In 2008, a total of 2,067 people took part in I.C.E.'s training initiatives. These involved 3,208 hours of teaching, 2,998 of which were in-house while the remaining lessons were taught via in-depth company tours.
These were aimed at students from Central-Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Macedonia and Russia), South America (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay), Asia ( India, China, Vietnam and Singapore), the Mediterranean (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Cyprus and Syria) and Australia.
This year, one major initiative undertaken by I.C.E.‚Äôs planning and international training body was a new training course for a 20-strong group of South African public officials, all belonging to local institutions involved in the internationalisation process for small and medium-sized enterprises. The initial teaching phase took place during May and June in a Pretoria classroom. Split into five modules, it covered issues such as the Italian production model, industrial cooperation, the food market and technological applications in the field of raw materials. The second part of the initiative will kick off around October with a study tour in Italy, due to be attended by South African journalists and an Institutional Representative. During the expedition, members of the delegation will be treated to visits of companies operating in their particular fields of interest, productive districts and consortia, polytechnics and research centres.