In 2016, the representatives of the footwear sector in Europe launched the Social Dialogue project “Attracting New Skilled Workforce for Quality Jobs in the European Footwear Sector” (VS/2017/0006), whose aim was to increase the attractiveness of the footwear sector towards young people and identify mid-term strategies for training and hiring young workers, in order to provide them with the necessary opportunities to obtain quality jobs in the industry. This project identified the main common problems and proposed which potential solutions and best practices could be pursued at European level.

By taking the results of this first project successfully concluded in 2018, a new action has been steered at European level in 2019 under the second Social Dialogue project “Implementing Best Practices to Increase the Attractiveness of the Footwear Sector” (VS/2019/0037). This project envisaged the implementation of four selected best practices aimed at building up the capacities of national stakeholders in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain in attracting young workers to the footwear sector, and at communicating the values and innovative character of the EU footwear industry.

The full report of the project concluded in July 2021 is available here in English, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.


The best practices implemented through this second project phase are:

Technological innovations
Technological innovations
Addressing the technological gap between education and training providers and the skills needs of footwear companies by means of dedicated technological visits in footwear companies.
Consolidating the key role of the mentor, a person with solid experience able to develop the skills of a newly recruited young people and support him/her in the rapid integration inside the company.
Boosting the apprenticeship programme as a widely recognised means to find and retain young people, as well as in providing them with the experience they need to understand what working in the industry means in practical terms.
Integrated sectoral communication
Integrated sectoral communication
Addressing sectoral misperception through an intensive, updated and smarter image of the EU footwear industry which needs to be transmitted to the public.

Communication includes:

• creating ad hoc communication materials, such as this website, a promotional video, interviews with young workers about their experiences.
• organising the Young Workers Day in various countries;
• promoting a competition open to young people aged 16 to 26 years old.

A project financed with the support of the European Commission



Technical partner


Assocalzaturifici is the association which represents Italian footwear manufacturing companies. It encompasses more than 600 companies and is the spokesperson for excellence in the Italian footwear sector.

IndustriAll Europe, is the European trade union that represents 7 million working men and women in the manufacturing, mining and energy sectors across Europe. It works to defend and to improve workers’ rights.

The European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) was created over 30 years ago to represent the European footwear industry in Brussels. It gathers national associations and European Union federations involved in footwear.

Spin 360, founded in 2009, is a company that offers advanced, innovative services. It promotes sustainable business models in the international markets of Fashion and Design, and develops and manages projects to develop strategic skills in people (particularly the young), as well as designing innovative employment models.

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