Italy – Half a Century of Vocational Training: CIOFS-FP commemorates with gratitude and relaunches

03 April 2019

(ANS - Rome) - Thinking about the work of young people is part of the Salesian DNA. But the challenge is to understand what work actually is today. For this reason, the women-focussed Centro Italiano Opere Femminili Salesiane – Vocational Training (CIOFS-FP), now celebrating its 50th anniversary, has organized a two-day event of celebration and reflection: this morning, 3 April, a delegation from the institution participates in the audience of Pope Francis, and in the afternoon a meeting session is scheduled on the pedagogical and historical-charismatic meaning of CIOFS-FP; tomorrow, the institutional assembly itself.

The history of the Vocational Training of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) is as old as the Institute itself: in the first houses founded, next to the oratory, there was always the "Family Workshop" for young people and girls wherein the art of sewing at various levels was taught. In 1950, there were as many as 600 of these laboratories!

At the same time, "Evening Schools" emerged for young women prematurely employed in factories. This was followed by the schools for rural housewives and then real and proper "agricultural schools". At the end of the 1960s, as "Artisan Schools", "Business Schools" and "Professional Start-up Schools" already existed, Sister Anita della Ricca gave life to the "CIOFS", of which she was the first National President, to give a civic or institutional aspect to all these works. Thus, the CIOFS Vocational Training Centers were born.

Even today, the CIOFS-FP has the objective of curating the vocational training of young people actively seeking opportunities in the world of work or supporting those inclined towards entrepreneurship.

Today, however, there is a large gap between studies and the trades needed in the real world: the “blue collar” worker is now technological, the farmer greentech, the hairdresser must study trichology, and to produce machinery, besides engineers, many specialized technicians are required. For this reason, the courses for professions, if consciously thought of for the specific needs of the local productive districts, prove to be very useful.

The centers of CIOFS-FP are scattered throughout Italy and after years of planning and development are growing, ensuring employability rates that often reach circa 90%.

As regards concrete actions for this important anniversary, in the afternoon of today, April 3, starting at 3 pm, a commemorative session is scheduled to be broadcast on live streaming on; the Superior General of the FMA, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, will also be speaking.

Tomorrow, April 4th, the CIOFS-FP assembly is scheduled.

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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