GIOVENTU » Youngsters turning to Artisanal work

Youngsters turning to Artisanal work

Italians are returning to traditional skills to boost Italian economy. Artisanal work is becoming more popular among young people and they are rediscovering their entrepreneurial spirit in traditional crafts such as shoe-making, hairdressing, tailoring or making pasta. Hiring among small artisanal businesses rose by 2.3% in 2016, according to data from CNA, the national confederation of artisans and small businesses. This recovery was also helped by new technology and a push by regional and local level governments to help facilitate the growth of startups, particularly in Milan.

The young Italian generation is returning to industries that formed the backbone of the country’s post world war two economy, such as tailoring. One of the most famous is the “Brioni tailoring school” which lets in only 16 students per year. The school opened in 1985, the aspiring tailors study mathematics, English and history as part of a combined school curriculum also aimed at preparing them for the world of work in case they decide not to pursue tailoring. Students join aged 13 or 14. It’s important that they start young, due to the sensitivity of their hands and fingers. It’s essential for them to develop such a level of tactility to enable them to work without looking.

There are also people driven by curiosity and the need to find a job in a country where youth unemployment has almost doubled to 37.9% within the last 10 years. One of them is the shoe maker Federico Badia who learnt the secrets of artisanal crafts without attending a school

The 29-year-old shoemaker owns a shop in Orvieto, a hilltop town in Umbria. Instead of going to university, he chose to learn shoe making just by doing it, offering his work in exchange of experience. Now he sells shoes for more than €1,000. 

Recent studies on the future occupational trends show that craftsmanship and all the jobs based on manual skills will be the most required in the next 10 years.

Italy holds a privileged place among the industrialized countries because its manual excellence is globally recognized in many areas of the “Made in Italy “.

The study entitled "Changes in the composition craftsmanship", published by IRES-Institute for Economic and Social Research of Piedmont in 2015 states that in a country like Italy, famous for its high-quality products and for its unparalleled Made in Italy, where youth unemployment is high and there are few carpenters, bakers, tailors, craftsmanship becomes a great opportunity. The 'know-how' remains an essential ingredient to the entire Italian manufacturing sector, and combining it with new technological knowledge, Italy has a powerful tool for growth and innovation.

The sector's potential is confirmed by the European Commission, in a study of 2015 entitled "Business Innovation Observatory - Collaborative Economy: collaborative production and the makers economy", highlights that the employment trend in professions based on manual crafts is growing.

Giulia Lombardo

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