Genoa - On Saturday, the Fiftieth San Giorgio Prize will be handed out to the best students at the Nautical Institute. The prize is awarded by the Collegio Capitani di Lungo Corso e Macchinisti [i.e. the College of Sea Captains and Engine Drivers]. It will be an important event, with many important authority figures, but the College’s president, Giovanni Lettich, promises that it will not only be a party, “but in fact the occasion to fight certain battles all over again and to announce new ones,” as the former chief of Genoa’s pilots said.
Let’s start with the new battles.
”For the graduates of the maritime schools: to obtain the sailor’s licence, one must pass the basic professional courses, which cost €1,000-1,200. Look, we would like for these amounts to be paid by the State rather than by these kids and their families.”
But how many graduates come out of the maritime schools every year?
”There are 65 institutes in Italy, from which graduate about 1,600 every year. But let’s be specific: to say that 30% go on to maritime careers would be optimistic. Precisely for this reason, we will ask for a post-graduation grant, to prevent waste and remove a barrier to maritime careers. To be specific, we are considering various legal regulatory approaches to achieve this proposal.” In the meantime, your proposal on tax benefits for [vocational] training did not get passed. ”Well, this brings us to the second point. That’s right, it didn’t pass. We asked for tax exemptions for the amounts that sailors must pay for their training: they spend €2,000-3,000 for the executive course. Based on the fact that about 40,000 sailors must update their licences every four years, this would cost the State €1.2 million per year. We tried to insert it as an amendment to last year’s Stability Law, thanks to the work of Mario Tullo and the votes from all of Liguria’s MPs, but it was rejected. We will try again this year. Business consultants and lawyers receive tax benefits on their training worth €10,000. Road hauliers got €10 million for their training...”
These are sectors that are enormously important for the Italian economy, with situations that are very different from your own.
“I’m not criticising the mechanism, I only want it to apply to sailors, as well, who are a bit frustrated after the matter of the certificates from last year, and who are obliged to take these courses during their time off.”
Between basic courses and training, how large would the public contribution be?
”Less than two million euros. But to increase the numbers of students who choose maritime careers and to maintain the central role of associations in the maritime world, we also want to promote alternation between school and work: we created a national protocol to involve all the companies in the maritime sector in apprenticing nautical school students, together with the director general of regulations at the Ministry of Education, Carmela Palumbo, the General Commander of the Harbourmaster’s Offices, Vincenzo Melone. It will be the 40 sections of the Collegio that will connect nautical students to associations in the sector.”
Will you speak with Confitarma and the future Confmare?
”I really hope I will speak with everyone, it’s very important. New President Mario Mattioli was the head of training at Confitarma for years, Confcommercio has a training system of a very high level, I am thinking of the experience of Federagenti in particular. We hope to start work on this as soon as possible.”