Discover craftsmanship with Manufacto, the skills factory 


Discover craftsmanship with Manufacto, the skills factory 

This programme has just begun its third year of implementation in primary and secondary schools. Together, students and teachers explore three crafts by making objects in leather or wood.
The initiative, launched in 2016 by the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès with the Paris education authority, the Compagnons du Devoir and the École Camondo, is gaining momentum. Twenty-six classes in the Paris, Créteil and Nice regions have already taken part in the scheme. They will number thirty-four this year, and schools in Lyon will be included.
What is an artisan? How do they work? What gives an object its value, how is it made? Each autumn, a group of around 30 leather-workers, saddler-upholsterers and carpenters from the Compagnons du Devoir network set out on an unusual tour around France to examine these questions about their métiers. This itinerary takes one of them to a year 5 class, another to a year 10 mathematics lesson, and yet another to a sixth form French class.
When Manufacto sets up camp, first of all room must be found for boxes of leather pieces, planks of wood and all kinds of tools. Then the 12 workshop sessions can begin. Through the experience of crafting their own leather pouches and document-holders, wooden lamps, footstools and other objects, students and teachers are brought face to face with the artisan’s skills and perspective, as well as the noble materials they transform.  
Though learning to cut, assemble, sand and finish an object takes the place of their usual lessons, it is a source of many other learning opportunities. Focusing on wood offers a geography teacher the chance to examine its origin or trade, for example. Working hand in hand, students and instructors discover a true spirit of solidarity through craftsmanship, and gain increased awareness of often little-known métiers.
“We have accomplished something. It has allowed us to concentrate on making something worthwhile, something tangible, creating a project.”
18, management science and technology student at the Lycée Bergson, Paris
“This is a project I will never forget. It has allowed me to see children who have been struggling at school succeed at something, and subsequently be successful in other subjects.”
Catherine Singer, 
Year 5 class teacher at La Motte Piquet primary school, Paris.

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