“Amici per la pelle”: an Italian initiative to promote new skills among young people

The successful initiative behind the 20% increase in the attendance of vocational schools focusing on leather products

On February 22nd, Milan will host the new initiative "Amici per la pelle" where more than 1000 young students (from grade 7th to 8th) are expected to participate.

Amici per la pelle has now come to its 7th edition, involving four Italian regions and more than 8.000 young students. This project was initially conceived to favour the contact between students and the leather industry and - in 7 years - it was able to produce a 20% increase in the attendance of vocational schools focusing on leather products.

According to recent data from UNIC, the leather industry has provided stable occupation over the last few years. Between 2012-2015, while the whole Italian economic system lost 3% of employees and 6% of total manufacturing, the leather industry registered 1% increase. For this reason, according to Unioncamere (the Union of Italian Chambers of Commerce), the leather industry will need 3.000 new employees over the next 5 years.

The main goal of Amici per la pelle is to let young people know the great value of leather in all its forms, together with the preciousness of traditions rooted in the territory. Moreover, the initiative wants to teach the students the story of leather creations in Italy, the manufacturing process, trivia and the use of leather in a fun and practical way. Last but not least, Amici per la pelle wants to encourage and promote dexterity, senses and creativity through specific activities and engaging labs.

Every year, the project is organized in a 6-month learning process during which students have the chance to visit the tanneries, sewage treatment plants, and research centres. The artistic goal of the project is to create a leather work. For this edition, students are invited to reflect on the artistic heritage of their territory, identifying the most representative work of art and reproducing it using leather, one of the most precious riches of their country.

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