SIP’s Zone 1 Professional Training Centre

10/03/2008 - 00:00 AM

  • SIP’s Zone 1 Professional Training Centre
- + Text size
Print

On May 11, 1968, the Italian TV evening news bulletin featured an item about a brand new, leading-edge training facility for workers at one of the country’s biggest companies. SIP’s Zone 1 Professional Training Centre, located at 94 Via Tripoli in Turin, was a 3,000 square metre building on six floors, with 1,700 square metres for workshops, and 600 square metres for classrooms.
The Telecom Italia Archives are housed today on the mezzanine level of this company building.

Workshops


Back in 1968, the Centre was the leading facility in a nationwide vocational training system developed initially during the 50s by Italy’s five telephone concessionary companies (STIPEL, TELVE, TIMO, TETI and SET). By the mid-Sixties, the company was looking for a new premises to house the latest equipment and ensure training in emerging technological innovations. In 1966, a decision was taken to start work on a brand new purpose-built building. By May 1968, when the news bulletin covered a visit by the Hon. Donat-Cattin (on an official visit as Undersecretary at the Ministry for Public Companies), the building was almost finished and a number of courses were already underway.

The Via Tripoli building had the enormous advantage of containing every type of installation commonly used by modern-day telephone companies, though for the facility’s educational purposes, some of these were on a reduced scale, and all of them were detached from the network proper. The building housed an exchange, a local network, radio relays, long-distance lines, and even pylons for aerial lines. All workshops were equipped with the tools necessary to train specialist personnel.

The Exchange Workshop, for example, not only had basic equipment for “selector inspection exercises”, it also had a teaching exchange where students could monitor a “local direct dialed chain”, offering a complete overview of how all of the different company units involved in a call worked together. Students could intervene directly on equipment and learn to identify and fix faults.

The Transmission Laboratory boasted two exchanges for long-distance connections. Here, students learned all about the various telephone transmission techniques then in use. The workshop was equipped with special teaching devices that students could use to assemble the telephone and electronic circuits used for transmission.

The Centre also boasted a Special Internal Installations Workshop, a Network Repairs Workshop, a Lineman Workshop, and a Switching Services Workshop.

Courses


The new building could accommodate 480 students at any one time, on any of twelve specialist theory and practice courses. Pre-hire and training courses were given to workers and switching staff, exchange engineers, transmission engineers, special internal installations operatives, network engineers and sales reps. The Centre also offered rolling refresher and update courses for workers and office staff already employed by the company.
The 100-strong teaching staff at the establishment was drawn almost exclusively from SIP employees. The one exception was for courses on so-called “Italian-style ladders” used by network engineers – these courses were taught by firemen.
Ten courses ran at the Center during the first half of 1968:

  • One course for exchange apprentice workers;
  • One course for Special Internal Installations apprentice workers;
  • Two courses for Line and Network apprentice workers;
  • Two courses for Switching Operator apprentices;
  • Two refresher courses for Internal Installations engineers.

Sources:
"Selezionando. Notiziario della 1a Zona", issue 5-6, May/June 1968; Centro di Istruzione Professionale SIP- Società italiana per l’esercizio telefonico p.a. 1a Zona (STIPEL), SIP – STET, 1968