Milan, April 27th 2022 - After the Turin and Catania experiences, “Piazza dei Mestieri” opens in Milan: an innovative social entrepreneurship, inclusion and education model, but above all a space in the city for young people in difficulty to promote, through training, work and culture, neighbourhood development, generational and ethnic encounter and the restart of youth employment.
A model that wants in every place to generate a network capable of responding to the multidimensional needs of young people and, in Milan, already sees the involvement of realities such as ITA2030, the Archè Foundation, the Operitage Association, the world of sport, business, neighboring parishes, etc. The new Milan Piazza dei Mestieri is located in a pretty 3000sqm building in via Miramare 15 (a side street of Viale Monza), specially renovated thanks to the support of the Cariplo Foundation, Enel Cuore Onlus, private donors, companies and a loan from Intesa Sanpaolo through the third value platform. The renovation, for a total value of 2 million euros, has made it possible to create laboratories, recreational spaces, a bar and a restaurant in this space that will host multiple activities that already in 2023 will involve at least 1.000 people, mostly young ones, with particular attention to those who live in socio-economic hardship situations.
THE CONTEXT. The Piazza dei Mestieri in Milan, in fact, is in particular aimed at young people of Municipalities 2 and 9 of the Lombard capital: densely populated neighbourhoods where the risk of ghettoisation is high and where there are strong concerns regarding completion of studies and job placement of young people (in Municipality 2 NEETs are equal to 17.2%, in Municipality 9 18.2%, between the highest in Milan). Difficult familiar situations such as unemployment, low income of the household and low levels of parental education - strongly present in Municipalities 2 and 9 areas of Milan - can have a direct and lasting impact on students’ school career, who may decide to leave education and training courses early. Without forgetting Sars Covid-19 emergency which posed new educational challenges, aggravating the territorial social gaps that were already evident before the health crisis, including functional illiteracy to which is added a digital illiteracy that the pandemic has brought out with an impressive gravity. In this context, Piazza dei Mestieri represents a model consistent with the objectives of enhancing human capital capable of having a significant impact on the reduction of early school leaving, on the job placement of NEETs, on enhancement of apprenticeships and alternance training, on the dissemination of culture and sportamong young people, on the reduction of mismatch between job supply and demand.
THE ACTIVITIES. And in Piazza dei Mestieri in Milan we are already working to achieve these objectives: educational activities are scheduled, with 12 training courses for 260 young people (which will become 400 in 2023) who recover traditional crafts - such as catering and personal care - and innovative - such as the field of information and communication technologies -; activities of taking charge activities and supporting the employment of NEETs through tutoring and coaching for 250 young people and 150 adults; activities to support school pathways to fight early school leaving phenomenon (80 young people expected in 2023); integration activities for foreigners, with language courses and workshops (50 young people expected in 2023); cultural activities such as musical productions, reviews and exhibitions of young artists, theatre performances productions for a total of about 50 events in 2023; sports activities that allow a balanced growth of young people and promote socialization (200 children expected in 2023); production activities related to the management of a bar, a roasting company and of a dining club open to the public; and start-up activities of new entrepreneurial realities in Piazza’s specializations sectors. Already today, dozens of girls and boys have started experience the spaces of Piazza in Milan: teenagers in waiter’s uniform serving coffees in an open to public bar; others, a little older and already graduates, are setting up a stage and making post-production, adults waiting for their turn to put down their burden of suffering and trying to get back on the job. Let's proceed to the corridors; thud noise of hair dryers, neat guys learning how to do a wavy hair fold and others acquiring the technique of doing a manicure. Upstairs managers are trying to understand how to hire an apprentice boy and how to use paths to adapt the skills of their employees and, in the meantime, they support themselves in the difficult task of doing business. In the next room, kids who have just left eighth grade behind, are experimenting with digital language, gaining the awareness that, although everyone defines them as “digital natives” to face the future it is necessary to study and commit. On the third floor we are welcomed into the restaurant, a space managed by young people under the watchful gaze of their “masters” who pass on their expertise, technique and passion. The gaze sweeps over the view of Milan, but is immediately attracted by the hands of the children, who move intimidatedly but precisely to prepare lunch.
A REPLICABLE MODEL. Spaces and activities follow those of the Piazze dei Mestieri already opened in Turin and Catania which, only in 2021, involved over 5.000 young people. Piazza dei Mestieri is in fact a replicable model that adapts itself to every single territory, and an experience twinned with realities of Belo Horizonte, Caracas and soon also with Los Angeles.
“In these years Piazza dei Mestieri has involved thousands of young people, in many cases coming from situation of economic and social hardship who thus suffer the effects of an adverse selection linked to the inequality of opportunities for access to the labour market - explains Dario Odifreddi, President of Piazza dei Mestieri. Our method is “dealing with”. The model of Piazza dei Mestieri can in fact generate a real community in an innovative logic of welfare community, in which young people are the protagonists, flanked by adults encouraging their freedom and their commitment. And this can only happen by osmosis, thanks to example and contact with adults who are truly masters. This is why it’s necessary to create physical places within cities where young people can create links between themselves and adults, where they don’t feel marginal compared to an active role as persons and as citizens, a significant point capable of contributing to a new sociality and to the construction of an innovative welfare model.”
“Piazza dei Mestieri is a story of stories, now thousands, made by young people who have found their way and even some defeats. And today we’re immensely happy, proud and enthusiastic to see this story grow and get enriched with a new adventure in this great and fascinating city that is Milan - says Cristiana Poggio, Vice President of Piazza dei Mestieri. Over the years Piazza dei Mestieri has been enriched, has always responded to the needs and has thus become a community experience that involves business, schools, institutions and other third sector subjects forming a network in support of young people.”
A place of life that moves life. A place to see, which is difficult to describe, which must be encountered and that all citizens will be able to discover for the first time at the Open Day scheduled for April 29th from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. On this occasion the ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 12:30 a.m. with the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala.
The word to the supporters
Giovanni Fosti, President of Cariplo Foundation, says: “The first and most important investment we can make is in people; we cannot allow the future opportunities for our children to be so different and the energy and talents of many of them to be lost: it would be a very profound injustice for those who experience it and a huge loss for the whole community. We support Piazza dei Mestieri because it’s an experience that has proved capable of putting aspirations and desires of young people into play, opening up new possibilities for them to express their potential.”
Michele Crisostomo, President of Enel and Enel Cuore Onlus emphasizes that: “The initiative that Piazza dei Mestieri brought to Milan is a virtuous example of a meeting place created to welcome young people and in difficult ones, to ensure that no one is left behind. It’s a project that, from an inclusive perspective, enhances skills and talent of people by accompanying them on a path of personal and professional growth. A sustainable vision shared by Enel Cuore Onlus which has always been committed to supporting projects like this with the conviction that the fight against school dropout, support for children growing up in often neglected urban contexts and care for people and their needs are essential tools to create value and contribute to the cultural and social growth of the country.”
Andrea Lecce, head of the Impact Department of Intesa Sanpaolo, commented: “We are happy to have supported this new important initiative through our Terzo Valore platform, which made it possible to collect €201.000 in donations and €142.000 in loans from companies and individuals to facilitate the implementation of the project; Intesa will finance an additional share for its part to reach the total amount of €900.000. For years we have been alongside Piazza dei Mestieri because we share their concrete commitment to offer young people an educational path aimed not only at entering the world of work, but also at civic awareness and growth. These are objectives that Intesa Sanpaolo has also been turning into practical actions for a long time, with initiatives such as the elimination of costs for the current account, loans of honour for higher education and the willingness to provide mortgages up to 100% of the value of the home to facilitate the purchase of the first home.”
Piazza dei Mestieri was born in Turin in 2004, from a dream of a group of college friends, born from a bond full of desire to be fruitful in an operation for the good of the world. At the origin there’s also the early death of a friend, Marco Andreoni, and the desire to build something together for the good of young people. Piazza dei Mestieri becomes a concrete example of entrepreneurship applied to social inclusion policies which is openly inspired to recreate the atmosphere of the squares of the past where people, arts and crafts met and, with a process of cultural osmosis transferred knowledge and skills to each other. A whole that brings together professionalizing courses, places and moments of aggregation, proposals for leisure, sport and culture. The method is “dealing with”: Piazza dei Mestieri is a community experience in an innovative logic of welfare community that involves business, schools, institutions and the third sector forming a network in support of young people. An innovative experience inspired by the best examples of a dual system that pays particular attention to accompanying work placement, social inclusion policies and prevention of the various forms of youth hardship and early school leaving, while at the same time promoting the development of a neighborhood, the generational and ethnic encounter and the spread of culture. Active in Turin (since 2004), in Catania (since 2009) and in Mian (since 2022), over the years Piazza dei Mestieri has successfully involved thousands of girls and boys (over 5.000 in 2021 alone) proving to be a valid and replicable model, able to adapt itself to different territories to respond to the ever new needs of the young.