“GARDENISER PRO” is a project developed within the Erasmus+ KA2 VET programme - Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training - Development of Innovation, implemented by a consortium of 5 partners from Italy, Germany, France, Greece and the United Kingdom. The project has a duration of 2 years from September 2017 to February 2020.
The main aim of Gardeniser Pro is to create and test an innovative European training programme promoting the development of a new professional role – the urban/community garden’s coordinator/organiser that we call GARDENISER – with the purpose of strengthening knowledge, skills and competencies of the people aspiring to perform this role, testing the evaluation of their learning achievements through the ECVET system, with the objective of paving the way for their recognition in the educational and professional training systems, both at a regional and national level, thus fostering their employability.
The project was developed starting from the results of two previous European projects: the LLP Grundtvig Multilateral project “EU’GO” (European Urban Garden Otesha) implemented between 2012 and 2013 and the project LLP Leonardo Da Vinci transfer of innovation “Gardeniser”, implemented between 2013 and 2015. These two projects drew attention to an innovative professional field, but they also made clear the necessity of an intervention to train and recognise the skills of the garden-organiser. Therefore, the project Gardeniser Pro wants to fill this training gap creating a European training format in the VET field – transferable thanks to the ECVET credit system – that leads to an improvement of the competencies in all the different areas of expertise necessary for carrying out this role. In fact, the results of the previous projects highlighted the necessity of developing resources and tools for the training needs of the Gardeniser that are quite complex. At the same time, they highlighted the necessity of developing a learning evaluation system to ensure the training of the Gardeniser is of a high quality and the necessity of the inclusion of this profile within the list of the professional figures, thus supporting the Gardeniser’s employability.
Main elements of Gardeniser Pro
To support the training and the employability of the Gardeniser and to allow its recognition by the educational and working institutions at different levels, Gardeniser Pro uses various measures.
This specific format has been developed – mixing and perfecting the French and English traditions on urban gardens that are some of the strongest traditions on this topic in Europe – with the purpose of ensuring the appropriate preparation of those trainers that wish to implement training for an aspirant Gardeniser at a local level. Although a Gardeniser Trainer should already have a certain level of expertise in the field of urban gardens and in delivering training, considering the variety of different areas of expertise covered by the training for aspirant Gardeniser, the European Format is produced to provide all the information and pedagogical, methodological, educational tools that are necessary in order to implement the local training sufficiently and in an standardised way across Europe. Being a methodological tool aimed at specialised staff, it is written in English to ensure the use of only one reference glossary, thus facilitating the mutual comprehension as well as the mutual exchange of procedures and evolutions that can follow its implementation.
The format has been tested by a pool of 10 trainers, 2 from each of the partner countries of the project Gardeniser Pro, during a training for trainers held in Manchester (UK) in April 2018.
A local training programme is provided by specialised staff (see the previous paragraph) in each of the partner countries and it is addressed to 20 selected aspirant Gardenisers, namely young people and adults that handle urban gardens in various ways, both in the public and private sectors, who want to increase or complete the competencies necessary in order to fulfil the role of coordinator of urban gardens. Consistency of the structure and contents of the training is assured by minimum criteria that have been established and that need to be fulfilled in order for the training programme to be formally recognised according to the ECVET system, but at the same time the course has some elements of flexibility to ensure its ability to be adapted to the particular situation of each country.
A Training Kit produced within the project Gardeniser Pro describes in detail the European Format for the professional training of Gardenisers and the relative tools for validating the learning achievements. The training kit includes both the training modules, related to the different topics addressed (which also partially reflects the modules of the training for trainers) and practical activities. Training objectives, modules and learning achievements are expressed following the criteria established by the ECVET system. The final product is in English while a version of it is available in each of the partnership’s languages, containing in the local language the common introduction and the activities chosen to implement the course at a local level, in order to guarantee its wide usability as well as to support its recognition and adoption by the educational and professional training systems in each country.
The Gardeniser Pro pathway includes for 8 aspirant Gardenisers, selected among the participants in the local training course, the opportunity to do a 1-week internship abroad working in an urban garden of another European country and side-by-side with a local Gardeniser. The remaining participants have the opportunity of doing a work-based experience for 1 week in a local urban garden. These opportunities are part of the Gardeniser training pathway and the time is used to develop knowledge, competencies, and skills which will be gained by the Gardenisers during the local professional training programme and can then be put into practice.
The aspirant Gardenisers who take part in the Gardeniser Pro pathway (training course + learning or work-based experience) can attain a Gardeniser Licence that is a standardised document registering and recognising a certain level of competencies and abilities in the specific fields of action of this new professional figure. It is designed so that the learning achievements, gained in the various fields (formal, non-formal, and informal), can be transparent and so that local experience in the urban gardens, mobility abroad, as well as qualifications complementary to the one obtained through Gardeniser Pro, can be validated and valorised.
An online platform is available for connecting Gardenisers and urban/community gardens, with the aim of facilitating the matching of working demand with working supply. It is available in the 5 languages of the consortium: English, French, German, Italian, Greek.