Eenhance and promote the sector, particularly in the Florentine area. Agreements in this sense were signed at the end of October by the “Regione”, “Provincia di Firenze”, provincial associations (Upi), Confartigianato, Cna, Confindustria and other unions

There is a plan to enhance and promote the Tuscan leather goods sector through initiatives for training young people, qualifying those already working in it and the unemployed in search of new or different jobs. An agreement in this sense was signed at the end of October by the various authorities and unions Regione, Provincia di Firenze, Associazione delle Province (Upi), Confartigianato, Cna, Confindustria, etc. «The agreement – explained Gianfranco Simoncini, councillor for production, employment and training, who signed for the Region – is part of a program set up by the various parties to find instruments to support and aid growth of the Tuscan production system. In this context the manufacturing industry and that of fashion in particular represent a priority in the plan». All segments of the sector are involved, from leather goods to tanning and metal trimmings. «This is a sector in strong expansion – emphasized Simoncini – with great potential as regards production and employment in the whole national territory. Therefore it is essential to use all possible means in order to back the current stage of expansion, thus ensuring the developmentof the firms that are part of the sector». The objectives of the agreement include a system of orientation towards professional training and work so as to increase firms’ adaptability to the market, both through qualification of workers and entrepreneurs and understanding the employment needs of firms. It is also suggested to promote apprenticeship contracts as favoured means of training and work, using both public and private training, with the participation of firms in the sector. All these functions will be identified by a project brand to give external visibility of the whole process and that can be used for social marketing actions, to make professional figures in the leather goods and accessories sectors more prestigious and sought-after, establishing their roots in the Tuscan work tradition and culture.Leather goods and allied industries, including that of trimmings, are among the most important in terms of jobs, firms and export value that, also in the first quarter of 2012, maintained a +6% on the national average. Tuscan brands are among the best known in the world and make a noteworthy contribution to diffusing Made in Italy on international markets. The leather goods sector also held up during the 2011-2012 period, maintaining a good employment level. The Florentine area of the leather goods industry includes over 2,000 firms, almost a third of that of Tuscany (30%) and a tenth (9.4%) of the national total. Also in the Florentine area there are some 150 trimmings manufacturers employing around 3,000 people. After the crisis that hit so hard from 2009 to 2010, starting from 2011 the orders from brands are decidedly on an up trend, making it possible to reduce or even, in some cases, eliminate recourse to unemployment benefits.