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“Parma Executive Skills”: advanced university training course for Parma City Council employees

“Parma Executive Skills”: advanced university training course for Parma City Council employees


Published on 7 February 2024

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The Municipality of Parma, the University of Parma and the European College Foundation have launched a high-level university training course, 'Parma Executive Skills', designed for employees of the Municipality of Parma.

This is an important and highly innovative course, not just for Parma and the wider region, but also on the national stage. Its uniqueness, originality and modern approach sets it apart. The course structure involves practical workshops linked to the running and operation of the authority and the Municipality’s own strategic objectives, with a particular focus on new organisational models and a new approach to managing public affairs. The overall objectives are to develop new ways to increase the attractiveness of the city and region; to improve public services; and to make the administrative machine more agile and flexible – ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.

The course has been designed around the genuine needs of the Municipality of Parma, with a view to ‘capacity building’, taking into account the challenges and opportunities that will characterise the public sector, and specifically local authorities, in the coming years. Robust ‘capacity building’ within the public administration sector is crucial, first and foremost to respond more effectively to the needs of citizens and communities. Through appropriate training and the acquisition of specific skills, Municipality employees will be able to deliver higher quality services, to manage resources more efficiently, and to provide timely and appropriate responses to the challenges and problems that the city faces now – and in the future.

The design of the “Parma Executive Skills” training course was undertaken by the University of Parma together with the Fondazione Collegio Europeo di Parma. The University is also responsible for the scientific coordination and organisation of the course, as well as managing the teaching, tutoring and administrative elements. In this way, the University is further sharing skills and know-how to support the overall development and growth of the public administration sector.

The training programme is being delivered over 3 years (from June 2023 – to December 2025) and is characterised by an interdisciplinary approach involving experienced national and international lecturers and professionals. It consists of 12 courses (each repeated for three sessions, giving a total of 336 teaching hours).

Theoretical knowledge and practical experience from the field are combined, offering participants a balanced training programme that will enable them to successfully apply what they have learned in the classroom within their own work context. Approximately 100 employees will participate in each course over the three sessions, and for any municipality employees who are not able to attend in person, videos of the lectures and the lecturers’ classroom materials will be made available for all employees via a digital platform.

The objectives of the training course are around:- establishing a new and challenging role for the Municipality in the development, attractiveness and competitiveness of the region, and ensuring the sustainability of any interventions; on a modern and innovative approach to the management of public affairs; and on investment in human capital, focused on new management and operational models that will strengthen managerial and multidisciplinary skills.

The course is also intended to have a significant impact on internal efficiency, with increased performance levels of all staff, accompanied by continuous and measurable improvement of services to citizens.

This new and novel university-level course is split into four training areas: Legal-Economic Area, Organisational Area, European Value Area, and Motivational Area, and consists of a wide range of modules:-

  • ‘PNRR: planning activities for the use of funds’,
  • ‘Quality assessment’,
  • ‘Lean management and project management’,
  • ‘Emotions, work and emotional intelligence’,
  • ‘Evaluating to motivate’,
  • ‘Effective team working: working well in a group’,
  • ‘Strategic project management’,
  • ‘The relationship between municipalities and subsidiaries: organisational model’
  • ‘Sustainability in local authorities’.

Four conferences are also planned which will feature national and European-level speakers. These will also be open for local stakeholders to attend. The themes for the four conferences will be:-

  • ‘Next Generation EU: opportunities for public administrations and businesses’,
  • ‘Public-Private Partnerships’,
  • ‘Green Deal and Ecological Transition: Strategies and Tools for Sustainable Development’,
  • ‘Responsibility and Result Culture: Overcoming Signature Psychosis’.

The introduction of the course is a tangible investment in partnership working between the key organisations that will help the city unite under one vision.