The North Tyrrhenian Port Network Authority has been the first in Italy to adopt the Port Workforce Intervention Program for training; an instrument provided for in art. 8, paragraph 3 bis of law 84/94 (as amended by Legislative Decree 169/16 and Legislative Decree 232/17), which allows Port Authorities to develop targeted actions to support training and professional requalification in the port context.
This was the starting point for the conference organized this morning in Livorno by the North Tyrrhenian Port Network Authority. The objective was twofold: on the one hand, to present the Program at national level and, on the other, to open a debate on training needs in Covid times.
At Livorno Cruise Terminal, the Port Network Authority, the Italian Port Association, the Ministry for Infrastructure and Tuscany Regional Administration met to analyze the new scenarios and take an in-depth look at Livorno’s case study.
The Pandemic – this is the starting point of the argument put forward by the Port Network Authority’s Training and Transparency executive, Claudio Capuano – has had a significant impact on the Italian port system, with a significant decrease in traffic that has caused, on the one hand, a drastic reduction in the number of work shifts, and a consequent drop in productivity and profitability of companies, and on the other, a rise in costs for the adoption of new operating methods aimed at combating the spread of Covid 19 infections and working safely.
Many workers in the companies authorized to operate in the port have been laid off. In addition, many others, who were employed seasonally on fixed-term contracts, have not had their contracts renewed.
In this context, we have to intervene with a strong, decisive initiative to support companies and workers in our network ports. This explains the need for an Intervention Program which, using the Port Workforce Organization Plan as a starting point, and on the basis of the (new) provisions of Law 84/94, will try to satisfy the training needs put forward by companies in relation to their work requirements.
Diversifying workers’ skills and expertise, while promoting work flexibility. It is on the basis of these requirements that the Port Network Authority has prepared a series of initiatives that will be accompanied by targeted investments using the funds referred to in paragraph 15bis of article 17 of Law 84/94 (up to 15% of port tax revenues).
The Program is set to be implemented in the three-year 2021-2023 period. It is aimed at identifying and planning operational training, retraining, reconversion and reinstatement initiatives in favour of workers at companies under articles 16, 17 and 18 authorized to carry out port operations and services in the ports under the Network Authority’s jurisdiction.
As pointed out by the head of the Port Network Authority’s Training Dept., Sonia Avanzoni, there are six areas of intervention which the Program focuses its attention on for raising professional standards in the ports of Livorno and Piombino: digitalization; circular economy processes applied to ports; coordination strategies and across-the-board teambuilding skills; functionality and efficiency of traditional and new generation plants and operating tools; improvement of safety and security levels in the port area; technical English for improving the levels of communication and competitiveness of port companies.
The Program describes which initiatives are eligible for funding within each of the six areas. For 2021, the Port Network Authority will allocate 500,000 euros for the implementation of the predefined training objectives. Each company will have a total annual budget for the management costs of the training project of €3,600. In addition, a maximum amount of 188 euros will be paid per employee in service as of 31/12/2020. The expenditure ceiling may be reached by training all or part of the staff provided that the training activities are in line with the areas referred to in the Program and their cost is authorized in advance and qualitatively sustainable.
Amounts will be granted to cover direct costs up to a maximum of 75% of the total amount of the project/courses submitted by each company authorized under Articles 16-17-18.
During the conference, the director of the Ministry for Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility (MISM), Maria Cristina Farina, underlined the novelty of the Port Network Authority’s Program, presenting it as a national model: “What stands out,” she said, “is the exceptional nature and organic approach of this initiative, the first of its kind to be presented at the MISM. The work produced by the Port Network Authority can be a point of reference for the other Port Network Authorities in the preparation of their own intervention programs.”
The secretary general of the Italian Port Association, Oliviero Giannotti, classified the Port Network Authority’s Workforce Intervention Program as a best practice at national level: “The Italian Port Association” – he stressed – “represents the Port Network Authorities and has among its objectives that of finding common solutions to common problems. It is our intention to make the most of the skills of the Port Network executives and managers to set up technical work groups on specific topics. Training is at the top of our agenda.”
For the regional councilor for training, Alessandra Nardini, training is the pillar of the Tuscany Regional Administration’s policies. “We must try to overcome the mismatch between the skills of the school and university world and the real needs expressed by our businesses. The initiative promoted by the Port Network Authority shows how important it is today to start from the needs of the area in order to build a better proposal in terms of training and, therefore, employment”.
Luciano Guerrieri, President of the Port Network Authority, drew the conclusions: “The teamwork and networking carried out by Mr. Capuano and the Authority’s training department should certainly be emphasized. Team-building activities contribute to fostering a positive climate within any institution,” he said.
According to Mr. Guerrieri, “the human factor remains the true logistical value of a port of call. This is not just a matter of quays and cranes, but also of skills and professionalism. I believe that, even more so today, institutions and companies must join efforts to set up an alliance that allows the synergic development of new projects in terms of tools, contents and training.”
Translation by Giles Foster