Today we are interviewing Lydia Alessio-Vernì, Director of Work and Development FVG (Friuli Venezia Giulia), the first agency in Italy which synergises investment policies with active employment policies, training and professionalisation.
Lydia, let’s start from recently. Could you give us an idea of what the responsibility of managing an organisation like Ardiss means to you?
LYDIA: An honour, without question. It has given me the chance to contribute to guaranteeing the right to education (set out in the Constitution) and allows remarkable students to reach the highest levels of tertiary education, which remains an essential sector in our administration.
What advantages have you found in this, in respect to other businesses?
LYDIA: The most important benefit is related to the governance of Ardiss, which is very streamlined. There is the general director, the auditor and the student committee, but above all there is a ‘workshop’ where we can work together with students, the recipients of our activities. This has enabled us to work openly and quickly despite the fact we are talking about managing services used by about a thousand students in five different locations. Another big advantage is definitely the support given by our region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, which supplies us with resources and guidelines.
What difficulties have you found?
LYDIA: The difficulties lies in the challenges we take on. We must manage various activities with different stakeholders. Obviously, it is tough to manage different sectors such as catering, hospitality, university residency, sports-related activities, and psychology. Essentially, the difficulty (although stimulating) lies in taking all of these different areas into account at the same time, while also thinking up new projects and ensuring innovation and usefulness.
In the new agency which you run (Work and Development), what have you brought with you from your experience of ARDISS?
LYDIA: On one hand, I contribute awareness of opportunities and of the difficulties linked to the organisation which is instrumental to the region and has guidelines and regional resources and thus, let’s say, its own life. On the other hand, I have the opportunity to pursue a dialogue with the world of university students and the world of students who are among the most motivated to complete their courses successfully and find a job straightaway. Work and Development will also ese the dialogue between different team members, to synthesise the training tools we use.
In Ardiss, there is a real focus on the topic of environmental sustainability. On April 10th last year, you organised an event with various thematic areas called ‘I Support Sustainability.’ Can you tell us a bit about this fruitful experience?
LYDIA: “I Support Sustainability” is a project of which i am very proud, as it incorporates all services within the right to study, with the objective of making them more sustainable from an environmental point of view. It is an important experience which was born of necessity, shown to us by our students who notified us on problems with recycling and other things. We were able to engage all our stakeholders (the region, universities, etc). We worked on the students’ proposals, studying and evaluating them before sharing them with local authorities and waste-collection services.
In this case how did you come to the decision of using a tool like Foxwin to facilitate idea competition?
LYDIA: It was an opportunity given to us by the region. I knew the tool from experience within production activities in the region and I thought it would be very interesting to combine an idea-collecting tool with what we were doing with sustainability. Another element was our use of Foxwin for achieving better collaboration between company employees, as the company was completing a phase of reorganisation.
During the competition, more than thirty ideas were published on the platform, with a participation rate of nearly 50%, which is a surprising result if we take into account that the mean level of participation does not usually surpass 30%. Were you expecting this?
LYDIA: Personally, I was expecting a good result because I had seen how interested the work groups were in providing innovative solutions. However, we hadn’t expected such a fantastic result.
I can see three main reasons behind this success. Firstly, the presentation work we carried out with the Foxwin staff. Secondly, identifying a topic which affected people’s everyday life. Finally, being able to recognise and appreciate everyone’s contributions. Now, our big challenge is putting the selected programmes into action.
Find out more about Ardiss.