The campaign “Open Your Mind”, promoted by the European Commission, through EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) and DG GROW (Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), has as main goal to attract people under 30 to study and work in strategical industries for the economy, such as Textile, Clothing, Tannery and Footwear. APICCAPS integrates the Boarding Committee of this project.
The campaign, which is within the project “Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills: showcasing careers in the textile/clothing/leather/footwear sector”, aims to do exactly that: make people look for jobs without prejudice, mainly the youngsters, and look at opportunities in other fields differently.
Change the perception of youngsters about these industries is important to capture new talents and to renew companies, as well as business sectors, that might need ‘new blood’ in order to maintain the high level of competitiveness and innovation.
The textile, clothing, tannery and footwear industries are sectors with great tradition and weight in Europe, namely in the Portuguese economy, but does not seem appealing to people on age ranges from 14 to 30 years, which causes human resources constraints to companies.
To pass this message effectively to the target audience, visits, meet-ups and Open Days will be organized in schools, training centers, companies and associations within the respective sectors, in which experts will share experiences about career opportunities and also answer doubts of all those who are interested.
“At the moment, the fashion cluster in Europe employs over two million people and is notably relevant. It’s important to not only preserve the existing jobs but also attract a new qualified generation”, highlights Paulo Gonçalves, APICCAPS’ Director of Communications. Data from the European Commission also attest that 400 thousand new professionals will be needed in these sectors until 2030.
Paulo Gonçalves also alerts for the need of preserving an European heritage: “the roots of fashion were implanted in Europe and we should not loose that heritage. It’s not sustainable that 80% of the production of those sectors is located in Asia”.
Why work on these industries?
The industries of textile, clothing, leather and footwear are strategic in Europe, representing an annual business volume of 200 thousand billion euros and employs 2.2 million people (66% women) in 225 thousand companies.
In countries like Portugal, Italy, Spain, Romania and Poland, those industries have a significant weight on exports.
To youngsters, a career in these fields is appealing not only for all the creativity involved but also for the possibility contributing to a cleaner planet, though the creation of innovative solutions.
Digital technologies and the technological development in I&D, production, promotion and marketing of clothing and footwear products have created new professional profiles, a lot with a need of high degree of specialization, making them appealing to newly graduates, for instances.
On the other hand, globalization has created opportunities to study abroad, namely with Erasmus program, or develop a global career.
These are some of the points that are going to be address during the campaign, which will have actions happening on six European countries.