MILAN — In keeping with its mission to safeguard the fashion sector, its know-how and craftsmanship, as well as its employees, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana has inked a new protocol with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies.
Called “Il lavoro buono,” or “Good Work” in English, it is focused on educational programs and initiatives aimed at supporting the generational shift in the industry, which would likely need around 40,000 new employees in the next five years. The protocol stems from discussions between the ministry and industry players held over the past several months as the pandemic was ravaging the sector.
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“The fashion employees’ average age is very high and in the upcoming years the sector will face a turnover of workers putting at risk their skills, know-how and craftsmanship,” said Italy’s Ministry of Labor Andrea Orlando during a press conference in Milan organized by the Camera on Tuesday.
The protocol is intended to “strengthen the professional skills of the sector’s employees,” by implementing regional programs to support a transition of competences and the requalification of workers with the goal of preserving job levels in the fashion sector and provide employees with a continued education throughout their careers. Fashion workers in the country amount to 1.5 million people, including employees in the fashion-related commerce and service industries.
The ministry noted that the resources made available by the European Union’s Next Generation EU plan to support the continent’s relaunch in the aftermath of the pandemic will be partly channeled to the project, as part of the national Recovery and Resilience Plan.
Acknowledging the strategic relevance of the fashion industry for the country, “the educational activities targeting the upskilling and re-skilling of the employees, including an update on digital capabilities, are key,” said Orlando.
As part of the deal the ministry and the Italian fashion chamber will institute a roundtable to constantly monitor the progresses made. “We have to be able to photograph the job market’s evolution, which is constantly changing,” said Orlando.
Carlo Capasa, chairman of the Italian Camera della Moda, expressed his pride for the signed protocol, which “marks the acknowledgment of our sector as strategic for the relaunch of the country’s economy,” he said, noting that the Italian fashion chamber is leading the sector in supporting the employees’ generational shift.
As part of the Italian government’s next moves to support the relaunch, the country is moving toward the implementation of the mandatory Green Pass — the European certification released to citizens who have either undergone the vaccination or recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months — for all employees accessing working facilities starting Oct. 15.
Asked about the political debate and recent social turmoil in response to the move, Orlando said he sees the certification as a means to “embark and support the relaunch, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises which were impacted the most by plunging consumption related to the lockdown,” he said.
The ministry ruled out offering free swabs for all workers who are not vaccinated, as suggested by some political parties. “I am favorable to any measure to control swab prices, however offering them for free would be counterintuitive as the government views the ‘Green Pass’ also as a tool to support the vaccination campaign,” he said.
The fashion chamber has been actively supporting the sector across the board in the last decade. Last month it announced a partnership with the Ethical Fashion Initiative to introduce the first “ESG Due Diligence and Reporting Framework” for the fashion industry, giving stakeholders to access a sustainability system to spot, eliminate and mitigate ESG-related risks.