Civic monitoring report

Sent on 18/03/2024 | By 2schoolsahome | @

What we found out

Project objectives

The “Tecnico superiore di processo e prodotto del sistema Moda 4.0 - Fashion Product Manager” is a post-diploma course that aims to address the challenges faced by the textile industry in Carpi, Italy. By training professionals equipped with skills in innovation, creativity, and sustainability, the program seeks to revitalize the local textile sector and enhance its competitiveness. The two-years courses offered by ITS (Istituti Tecnici Superiori) programs provide access to non-university tertiary education, awarding a state-recognized Diploma at the EQF Level 5, a qualification necessary for immediate entry into the workforce. These programs combine specialized theoretical training with on-the-job experience within companies in the specific sector.

Foreseen activities

The Fashion Product Manager ITS project encompasses a series of meticulously planned activities designed to effectively achieve its objectives. These activities entail comprehensive training sessions covering various facets of the fashion industry, including design, production processes, marketing, and retail strategies. The project plans a total of 2000 hours of educational activities, with 40% allocated to internships. These practical internships, hosted by local fashion companies within the Carpi district, offer students invaluable hands-on experience and exposure to the industry. Coordinators and tutors personally oversee internship orientation and assist students in securing suitable placements, monitoring their progress throughout the training period. Furthermore, the project emphasizes the significance of staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies in the fashion sector, offering workshops, seminars, and guest lectures by industry experts. Additionally, the program facilitates opportunities for international exchange programs, enabling students to broaden their horizons and gain insights into global fashion markets. Ultimately, the planned activities aim to equip students with the requisite knowledge, skills, and experiences to excel in the dynamic and competitive landscape of the fashion industry.

Project origin

Launched in 2017, the Fashion Product Manager Istituto Tecnico Superiore (ITS) was initiated as part of regional and EU efforts to rejuvenate the textile industry in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The program received significant financial support, with funds allocated from the POR-FESR 2014-2020 initiative, with a total funding of €295,431.50 sourced from various entities (i.e. European Union: €147,716; Fondo di Rotazione: €103,401; Regione Emilia Romagna: €44,315). The Regional Operational Programme (ROP) is the instrument through which the Emilia Romagna Region, thanks to the funds made available by the European Union, the State, and the Region itself, developed a plan for social and economic growth in the sectors of industrial development, digital agenda, environment, and innovation from. The Programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is one of the European Structural and Investment Funds and is the main instrument of the European Union's regional policy. In other words, the Fashion Product Manager ITS is part of the projects set up by Emilia Romagna for its growth plan. These substantial investments underscored the commitment to addressing the pressing challenges faced by the fashion sector and fostering sustainable growth in the region.


The Fashion Product Manager ITS benefits young adults holding secondary school diplomas or equivalent qualifications. In 2018, through a rigorous selection process, 25 students were admitted to the program.The majority of these positions were allocated to disadvantaged categories such as the unemployed and migrants.


Carpi's textile industry has a rich tradition. Situated in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, the region known for its strong entrepreneurial culture, Carpi has been a prominent hub for textile manufacturing and fashion production. The district's strategic location, skilled workforce, and historical expertise have contributed to its prominence as a center for innovation and craftsmanship in the fashion industry.
The history of Carpi's fashion industry dates back to the early twentieth century, primarily focused on the production of straw hats. With intricate designs adorning these hats, they garnered attention from people worldwide, contributing to the prominence of the fashion district. However, the onset of World War II halted this industry. Nevertheless, the resilience of Carpi's residents led to the emergence of a new product: sweaters, which once again gained international acclaim. Due to this success, during the 50s a significant portion of Carpi's female population was engaged in home-based sweater production and between 1951 and 1961, the number of employees in the industry increased from one thousand to approximately seven thousand.
Despite its historical significance, Carpi's textile industry has faced numerous challenges in recent decades. Economic downturns, globalization, and increased competition from low-cost manufacturing countries have posed significant threats to the district's economic sustainability. Since the 1990s, the district has undergone profound transformations and significant downsizing in terms of both the number of employees and businesses. It has been reported that approximately 70% of fashion companies have closed down. Additionally, changing consumer preferences, technological advancements, and environmental concerns have necessitated adaptations within the industry. Despite facing challenges, Carpi's fashion district consistently seeks innovation and diversification in its product offerings, capitalizing on its rich heritage and skilled workforce.


As confirmed by the annual ranking redacted by the INIDIRE platform on ITS programs (source:, the monitored training program was successfully completed, spanning from December 20, 2018, to December 23, 2020. INDIRE stands for Istituto Nazionale di Documentazione, Innovazione e Ricerca Educativa (National Institute for Documentation, Innovation, and Educational Research). It is an Italian governmental research institute under the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. INDIRE focuses on educational research, innovation, and documentation, providing support to schools, teachers, and educational institutions across Italy. Its main objectives include promoting innovation in education, conducting research on teaching methodologies and technologies, and providing resources and services for the improvement of the Italian education system.


The second half of two-year training program subject to civic monitoring was characterized by the Covid-19 pandemic, consequently, as confirmed by the ITS coordinator Elena Previdi, a consistent part of the lessons were conducted remotely. Additionally, the internship hours in local companies were drastically reduced, hindering students' access to the initially planned training.
According to the data provided by INDIRE (source:, he monitored program saw the participation of 25 students, out of which 18 successfully completed the course and obtained their diploma – namely “Tecnico superiore di processo, prodotto, comunicazione e marketing per iI settore tessile - abbigliamento – moda” . Comparing these figures with national data reveals notable differences. At the national level, the graduation rate in the ITS fashion programs stands at 80.2% among enrolled students, slightly higher than the 72% observed rate in Carpi. Moreover, the occupation rate among graduates, one year after completing the program, is 55.6%, with 10 out of 18 diploma recipients employed. In contrast, in the same period the national occupation rate for graduates in the fashion sector is reported at 81%, indicating a significant disparity (source:
Finally, according to the annual report conducted by the INIDIRE platform on ITS programs, the monitored one ranked 216th out of 260 among all ITS courses offered in Italy. Furthermore, within the fashion sector, it ranked 15th out of 18 programs and it was identified as "problematic" in its global evaluation (source:


The most notable weaknesses are the low graduation and occupations rates observed (source: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these rates cannot be overlooked, as disruptions to education and training may have contributed to the shortfall. Additionally, given the current economic landscape of Carpi, one might speculate that it could have been more beneficial to allocate public funding to training programs related to the leading sectors of the local economy, such as biomedical and metalworkind and mechanical engineering (source:


The Fashion Product Manager ITS project is designed with several notable strengths. It offers students the valuable chance to participate in a study abroad program, enriching their educational experience and broadening their understanding of the global fashion industry. Additionally, the program initially included numerous internships within local companies, fostering vital connections between students and industry professionals. These internships provided hands-on experience and valuable networking opportunities, enhancing students' readiness for employment. Moreover, the program promotes inclusivity by welcoming individuals from diverse educational backgrounds (source: Furthermore, it prioritizes accessibility by offering a low registration fee of €200 for the entire two-year program and allocating spots for disadvantaged groups through the selection process, ensuring equitable access to high-quality training (source: However, it's essential to note that during the monitored two-year period, various aspects of the program were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, altering the implementation of these attributes.


Despite the potential benefits of the Fashion Product Manager ITS project, there are several risks and challenges to consider. One significant risk arises from the prevailing economic conditions within Carpi's Fashion District. According to the latest official data provided by Carpi's government (2013-2019), the district experienced a notable decline in the number of businesses and employees, with a 14.8% decrease in companies and a 6.8% reduction in the workforce. This trend affected both final garment manufacturers and subcontractors. In 2017, the district had 783 operational companies, employing 5,412 workers locally and 6,783 nationwide. Employment decline was particularly evident in smaller enterprises, while larger ones saw modest growth mainly outside the district. Additionally, despite slight decreases in the number of companies and employees, the turnover of final garment manufacturers showed a relatively small decline of 4.7% during 2013-2017. However, subcontractors' turnover decreased, especially in sales to local manufacturers, while sales to external clients increased. Combining turnover, the district's consolidated turnover amounted to €1,400 million, reflecting a 3.4% decrease. Reduced domestic sales and modest export growth influenced this decline, with the Italian market still accounting for 63% of total turnover. Turnover dynamics varied by company size, with smaller enterprises experiencing revenue losses while larger ones generally recorded growth. In 2018, the knitwear sector faced uncertainties, with production and domestic orders declining, although foreign orders increased slightly. Overall, the textile-clothing sector reported negative trends in the second half of 2019, contrasting with positive export performance (source:
To summarize, external factors such as economic uncertainties and global events like the COVID-19 pandemic may present challenges to the sustainability of the ITS program in the near future.

Ideas and solutions

To address weaknesses and mitigate risks, the Fashion Product Manager ITS could focus on enhancing graduation and occupation rates through tailored support programs and continuous curriculum improvements. Moreover, integrating solar panels and zero-impact machinery into the ITS facility could not only promote environmental sustainability but also enhance students' educational experience, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Another potential area for improvement lies in the promotion and awareness of the Fashion Product Manager ITS program. Despite its transformative potential, the program may not be sufficiently advertised or well-known within the community. To address this, allocating a portion of the received funds to promotional activities would be beneficial. Leveraging social media platforms and targeted advertising campaigns can increase visibility and awareness, attracting more aspiring students to the program. This, in turn, would maximize its impact on the local fashion industry and economy.

Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Visit to the project's location, documented by pictures or videos
  • Interview with the users and/or final beneficiaries of the intervention
  • Interview with other types of people
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's implementation

We conducted interviews with several key individuals to gain a deeper understanding of the textile sector in Carpi and the ITS project. We met with Tania Previdi from the Civic Museum of Carpi, who provided valuable insights into the history of the local textile industry. Additionally, we had the opportunity to speak with Davide Berti, a journalist at the Gazzetta di Modena, who explained us the methodologies for gathering and reporting information in the context of data journalism. Regarding individuals directly involved in the project, we interviewed Elena Previdi, the ITS coordinator, and Sofia Airoldi, a former student. During our monitoring visit, we also engaged in conversations with some students currently enrolled in the first year of the course, further enriching our understanding of the program and the students' experiences.

Main questions

1) To ITS coordinator, Elena Previdi: How does ITS work to keep its courses up-to-date with developments in the industry?
2) To former student, Sofia Airoldi: Once you completed your training at ITS, were you provided with internship opportunities?

Main answers

1) Elena Previdi: At ITS, we have a dedicated teaching staff comprising professionals from the industry who actively engage students by organizing visits to company fairs and industry events. Additionally, we continually evaluate our curriculum to incorporate the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the fashion sector. While there are always areas for improvement, we prioritize teamwork and collaboration to ensure that our courses remain relevant and effective in preparing students for the dynamic and evolving fashion industry landscape.
2) Sofia Airoldi: Absolutely, upon completing the course, I was fortunate to receive two internship offers. While one required relocation to another city, which I declined, the second offer was for an internship position at a company right here in Carpi. I gladly accepted the latter opportunity, and I'm currently still working with that company, gaining valuable experience as a Fashion Product Manager.