MECSPE 2025: Focus on new skills 5.0

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new 5.0 skills

In Bologna from 5 to 7 March 2025, the 23rd edition of MECSPE will offer a revamped program focusing on sustainability, innovation and, above all, the theme of training young talents with new 5.0 skills, in order to reduce the critical mismatch between demand and supply of skilled workers.

In March 2024, the employment rate in Italy hit 62.1%, marking the highest figure in the past 20 years [1]. This is an encouraging indicator for the domestic market, but it continues to highlight major industry challenges due to a mismatch between supply and demand for trained personnel in Italian manufacturing.

Manufacturing is facing a shortage of human resources, particularly in the mechanical, textile, and metallurgical sectors.

In fact, as many as 65% of the specialized workers sought by companies are difficult to find [2]. This is not an insignificant figure when one considers that from April to June 2024, the industry sector expects the entry of 393,840 resources, 250,830 of which are in manufacturing alone.

It is precisely with the aim of creating a bridge between companies and talent that MECSPE, the benchmark exhibition for the manufacturing industry organized by Senaf, returns to Bologna March 5-7, 2025, building on the success of the last edition.

Training, along with innovation and sustainability, is one of the fair’s focal points, and in the next edition, it will have even more space to suit the demands of firms looking for a far larger workforce than the market now provides. 

The crucial role of the ITS Academy

Thanks to the direct participation of the ITS Academy, specialized post-diploma higher education schools with 349 study courses [3], MECSPE will highlight the pivotal role these institutions can play in preparing trained resources ready to enter the market.

The most popular course is New Technologies of Made in Italy, where the largest number of enrollments is for the Mechanical System course (41.6 percent), followed by Agribusiness System (22.9 percent), Fashion System (18.1 percent), Business Services (13.2 percent), and Home System (4.2 percent).

new skills

As a testament to the value of the training received, the INDIRE 2024 monitoring shows that as many as 87 percent of ITS graduates find work within a year of graduation and, for most of them, in a field consistent with their specialization.

More and more companies are forming relationships with ITSs: according to the MECSPE Observatory [4], more than half of the companies surveyed are already collaborating with them, a good figure that, however, needs to be nurtured, especially for those 5 out of 10 entrepreneurs who have identified precisely the difficulty of finding human resources as their greatest criticality in the previous year.

And if we count that nearly a quarter of companies want to grow in size in the next two years, expanding the workforce with specialized people takes on even greater importance.

«Training specialized professionals is crucial to the growth of Italian manufacturing, and ITSs play a key role in preparing young talent with advanced technical skills.»  comments Maruska Sabato, MECSPE project manager. «Many entrepreneurs already use partnerships with these institutes or universities to find the necessary resources, but it is crucial that the number of companies involved continues to grow. We want to accelerate this process, bringing more and more companies closer to the highest level of training that Italy offers. MECSPE, in this sense, is the ideal context for facilitating the meeting of supply and demand for skilled labor and is an innovation accelerator where professionals of the future can touch upon technological innovations, aligning themselves with the ongoing digital and ecological transition

New skills 5.0 and synergy between ITS, universities and companies

Also important is the role of universities in preparing talent with new 5.0 skills; again, the MECSPE Observatory, in fact, reports that nearly 6 out of 10 companies in the surveyed sample already collaborate with ITS and/or universities, while nearly 3 out of 10 companies plan to do so.

As a demonstration of this, MECSPE 2024 saw the presentation of the DEMU project, a contest promoted among students in the Design degree course organized in Vicenza by the IUAV University of Venice to enhance the potential of advanced injection molding through the design of a small object made of polymers from renewable sources.

«Starting with a publication by professors at IUAV in Venice, named “Good Plastic“, we started a real production process to create a new product, the result of a design competition carried out by students in the Design degree program. We combined the synergies of the university and several companies to find solutions of a different nature by thinking about sustainability and innovation, topics that are much talked about but still too little shown as real industrial production» Sergio Monteverde, Ewikon‘s Italy sales manager, said.

Through special initiatives and networking areas aimed at bringing students and young professionals closer to the world of industry, MECSPE will serve as a stage to show how the manufacturing sector is transforming itself to shape the future of the Italian economy by integrating sustainability and digitizing its processes.

new skills

The industry is ready to embrace the new Transition 5.0 Plan incentives under the NRRP, which will unlock funds of up to €6.3 billion for the digital and green transition of businesses.

The 23rd edition of MECSPE will focus precisely on supporting companies in transforming their business models and updating them on all the latest developments in industry and technology.

The upcoming edition follows a particularly successful year for the fair, which saw nearly 7 out of 10 [5] exhibitors say that attending MECSPE is important to them, a figure that has been growing steadily since 2019.

Satisfaction for both exhibitors and visitors is also increasing at the same rate, with more than half of them believing that the meetings with industry professionals that took place during the 2024 edition will influence their career choices.

Facts and figures of MECSPE BOLOGNA 2024


[1] ISTAT – employed and unemployed, March 2024.
[2] Unioncamere – Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Excelsior Information System.
[3] There are 349 monitored and evaluated study courses completed between January 1 and December 31, 2022, activated by 98 ITS Academies. Source: Indire.
[4] MECSPE Observatory on the Manufacturing Industry, III quarter 2023.