The "Association of Italian professional gardeners" was founded with the aim of protecting the figure of the professional gardener. GardenTV interviewed its president, Anita Claudia Pavoni to ask, after explaining what it takes and what activities the association has in mind for the future, even to define the view (of the law, but not only) in which today moves the profession gardener.
How did the association and what does it involve?
The association was founded following the meeting between different professionals who have gained the will to form an association to protect and develop, first, the figure of the professional gardener, intending for it, one prepared, educated, who knows and He can do. Not forgetting the context in which we work: the green, the landscape; and of course our customers.
It took the decision to join, as a professional trade association, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Law no. 4/2013 and the subsequent Legislative Decree n.13 / 2013. The regulations mentioned have introduced, in Italy, the ability to not organized professions in orders or colleges, to give themselves a form of association, of representation and protection. As well as the possibility of issuing certificates of competency.
The association as required by the above regulation is non-profit.
How to make up the board (president, members, advisors ...)?
The Statute provides for the Shareholders' Meeting, which elects the Board of Directors. Within the Board of Directors, I shall be elected President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Then there is the Scientific and Technical Committee, an independent, to address character, about the training and anything else considered useful.
Following the new legislation, the gardener is now a recognized profession. What is your opinion about, the norm has limitations?
First you need to define who is the gardener. The gardener is one who using his hands, but with technical and operational professional preparation, deals with the creation, care and management of the garden, and in general of works to green and landscape. Many are his skills, since many and various are its activities. In general we can say that it is he who makes scratch works, or that makes routine maintenance. Extraordinary maintenance include even arborists skills, tree-climber, while some gardeners are more specialized, I think, for example, to those who deal with lawns, sports fields and therefore has tools and expert knowledge. Taking a cue from a recent newspaper article, however, we can say that the gardener than once, he had a solid preparation, which had extensive expertise on plants and their care, no longer exists. Over the past 20 years the average professional has declined, despite the technical and scientific knowledge have increased. A paradox, in fact.
The new regulations, for the implementation of activities, care and maintenance of parks, gardens, etc., is now Law 154/2016, article 12, which however is not yet fully operational. For the latter, and other elements, the new law has some limitations and problems.
First, the bill was put forward as part of the Agricultural Linked to Financial and Artisans, were not involved in or informed. And remember that most of the gardeners in activities are craftsmen. The law basically says that all nurserymen enrolled in the Single Register of Producers, are 'automatically' qualified gardeners, without the need for any qualification. And this seems incorrect: it is clear that is not the same thing. The nursery is an activity, the gardener is another activity. Not surprisingly, they are identified by different codes, regarding the classification of work activities. The so-called NACE codes, used by the Chamber of Commerce, for business registration. The nursery is considered farming, gardening service activities.
Returning to the provisions of the law referred to above, all businesses (except nursery gardeners) who want to take care of creation, care and maintenance of the green, will have to follow 'qualifying courses'.
The qualifying courses, will be provided by the Regions, which will have to legislate individually on content, duration and mode of delivery of these courses.
During the transition phase, which is where we are, that is, the entry into force of the Law at the time when the individual regions will determine the courses, the Chambers of Commerce are moving in 'sparse manner': those who do not enrolling any new venture , enrolling only those subjects with vocational training, and more, as before enrolling all the subjects in question.
In the past, generally, the Chambers of Commerce, have always simply writing who did question, no request for professional requirements. After all no law foresaw.
Currently we find, as well, to operate on the market gardening companies, with the owner and qualified and serious employees. But these are a minority. And several other companies, instead, carry out this activity, without any preparation. So much so that over time the gardener's work has greatly disqualified. The crisis has also increased the 'black economy' in the sector and further disqualified the same.
I hope, as president of AIGP, and are working in this direction, so that individual regions, determine courses enabling homogeneous. In this connection important that State-Regions Conference, being brought, guide lines that circumscribe content, duration and other unique characteristics of these courses, so that they arrive at constant qualifying courses between the regions.
What do you offer as an association, what are your activities (training / courses ...)?
The Association protects and promotes the figure of the professional gardener, in all aspects, and in the appropriate fora. By participating, for instance at ministerial round tables. The training is another important point of the Association. When fully operational it will issue certificates of competency, valid nationwide. After accreditation from the Ministry of Agriculture, we are getting accreditation from the Ministry of Economic Development. The training will then be 'permanent', in the sense that in order to maintain the qualification will need to take courses / professional development activities.
6. You are also very active on Facebook: what is the importance of these new means?
Through social, you can reach many people in a short time. The training also, in short, may be partially online. Exploiting platforms of video communication can also make meetings with shareholders.
What hopes for the future of the association and the profession of the gardener?
The Association will provide soon a door of the consumer, to have a direct dialogue with our customers. AIGP, moreover, thanks precisely to the Law 4/2013, produce available to all, the list of their qualified gardeners, with equivalence recognition system at European level.
It will be an independent organization, attesting to the qualifications of its members, to guarantee the impartiality of judgment.
They will be identified later levels and growing, training and specializations.
It will become easier for an individual or for a body, tracing a qualified gardener.
What advice would you give to a young person who intends to make this work?
To get an accurate idea of what to expect, advisable to work alongside a good gardener, to learn the job and also learn how to approach the client, as well as learn to work in teams. Social skills will assume more importance. Recall that AIGP, combines both entrepreneurs, both autonomous (individual companies), which employees in that, the Association will qualify for natural persons.