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Community cohesion and youth employability


Fostering community cohesion and employability skills.

The Florentine area of Italy, which has a long tradition of creativity and craftsmanship, is renowned for its production of garments and luxury leather goods. It is a key manufacturing location for Burberry and is where Burberry Manifattura, our leather goods centre of excellence, is located. In recent years, the region has faced challenges from youth unemployment and economic migration.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation. In the penultimate year of The Burberry Foundation and Oxfam’s five-year collaboration, the programme helped foster community cohesion and social inclusion among communities. The programme helps to improve community members’ understanding of and ability to access services in the local area, while also facilitating integration into the community.

During FY 2020/21, the programme ran school mentoring schemes both online and in person in seven Tuscan schools. It provided training for teachers on introducing a new style of inclusive teaching to their classes. The Burberry Foundation also partnered with four local community centres to help them to expand their day-to-day services. During FY 2020/21, the community centres were able to continue running after-school clubs by switching to a digital format. This engagement helped to provide students with educational support during the pandemic. In the summer months, the community centres took to the outdoors to ensure young people could continue to interact and socialise after months of social isolation.

The network of community facilitators as part of the programme enabled Oxfam to reach the most vulnerable community members within the year. Twelve facilitators provided vital support over the phone, online and in person where possible. A new community help desk was set up during the year, specifically focusing on young people, providing careers advice and employability services. Overall, 37,035 community members benefited from these activities in FY 2020/21.

Oxfam Italy

  • 96% of beneficiaries* stated they have better knowledge of the services in the community
  • 96% of beneficiaries* stated they feel able to access services in the community
  • 100% of community centre operators state the community centre was able to attract a wider and more varied audience

The Burberry Foundation also has two programmes focusing on employability through engagement with the circular economy. Their aim is to support the communities that sustain the luxury industry while also tackling the industry’s systemic waste issue. Our programme partners are two innovative social enterprises, Elvis & Kresse and Progetto Quid. Elvis & Kresse is a B Corporation dedicated to giving raw materials a new life and is committed to transforming perceptions of waste and inspiring people to protect the environment. Progetto Quid addresses the challenge of excess fabric in the fashion industry while also providing disadvantaged people with training opportunities, apprenticeship programmes and direct employment. The programmes provide opportunities for vulnerable and/or under-skilled people to learn a new craft and develop workplace skills, which will help secure long-term employment either within the creative industries or within other sectors.

In addition, Progetto Quid goes beyond employability skills by addressing the welfare needs of highly vulnerable people. It provides the security of a stable environment and support in procuring official documentation, both fundamental to ensuring vulnerable individuals have an identity and a place within society.

During FY 2020/21, 48 people benefited from employability programmes through engaging with the circular economy.

Elvis & Kresse

  • 100% of beneficiaries* had an improved knowledge of leather manufacturing and the circular economy
  • 91% of apprentices entered employment in manufacturing, creative industries or the “Makers Movement”

Progetto Quid

  • 100% of beneficiaries improved employability related skills, including communication and problem solving
  • 100% of beneficiaries improved their proficiency in the Italian language
  • 17% of beneficiaries obtained documentation to prolong their permits as legal residents and workers in Italy

* Denotes the results of a sample of direct beneficiaries surveyed.