Our world is becoming increasingly digital. The computer or the smart phone are part of everyday life. This virtuality of things has its good points but often lacks humanity, warmth. And if many jobs require solid computer skills, this can put off those who prefer contact with the material rather than with pixels. Fortunately for them, the craft sector has immense needs for manpower.
A sector in demand
In fact, various professional sectors offer many positions to be filled. The president of the Chamber of Trades and Crafts of Brittany claimed in 2022 that in less than 10 years, 20,000 businesses would be up for grabs. By the way, this situation is not only happening in France but in other places around the world. Whether it's in neighboring Luxembourg or in Quebec in search of millers to keep the water and windmills present on the territory running, everyone is looking for this manual labor.
Certainly, this shortage of workers doesn't only affect the more traditional trades. Many sectors, including education, are in dire need. However, what may be surprising in the case of the craft industry is the renewed interest in training. CFAs (apprentice training centers) are seeing an increase in apprenticeship contracts of up to 20%. In 2016, 290,000 signed them; 730,000 made the same choice in 2021.
Of course, the gigantic number of job openings has the potential to attract many, and the ease of finding a job after school is highly elevated. However, when these 16- to 29-year-olds are surveyed, it's the tasks associated with their jobs that make them far happier and more fulfilled (88%). Working wood, ceramics, flowers, bread or even the body in aesthetic fields is more organic and meaningful to these apprentices than office work, among other things.
However, two-thirds feel that the craft trades are disliked by the general population. This also explains why some young people are still hesitant to take this path, having several clichés in mind. These professions leave a lot of room for entrepreneurship and also modernity. These designers, for example, have taken the Moroccan artisanal past and made it into modern designs for a contemporary clientele.
The beauty of this career path is that the path has evolved and transformed. Now, there is no need to enroll in a program while being unsure of the passion for a profession. There are short courses designed to prepare potential apprentices and those wanting a conversion. This allows them to experience the fundamentals of a profession (cabinetmaking, welding, etc.) for a few days or weeks and see if they want to go further and train for two years with a CAP (certificate of professional aptitude) in that field. More and more Trade Centers are offering such internships to test out machines and techniques.
For companies, these apprentices can already give a solid hand. What's more, integrating them into daily practice allows to note those who truly have a calling and to light the fire of passion in them. A mission that will be all the more important in the coming years as many artisans head into well-deserved retirement.
Interestingly, more and more women are becoming interested in the professional trades. In Quebec, they would now be nearly half of the registered. Admittedly, they are rarer in construction activities but little by little some are making their nest. French female apprentices are also more numerous, but they are far from Quebec's parity (29%).
Those who would seek to acquire this knowledge can of course contact trade centers or guidance sites like Maformation.fr for help. For a taste without embarking on a full-blown training course, there are Wecandoo workshops that allow, for a fee, several different experiences whether in cabinet making, glass blowing, perfume creation or craft rum.
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