More than 100 small and big eyewear companies in the Italian eyewear manufacturing region of Veneto have organized themselves to support the development of an increasingly skilled staff through a new training program financed by private and public stakeholders.

One of the reasons for the investment is a projected increase in the international demand for glasses and sunglasses, where the Italian industry wants to continue to play a leading role. Local experts expect that the global demand will increase by at least 50 percent in the next five years, growing from €82 billion to €128 billion annually.

Early last month, the Italian eyewear industry association, Anfao, signed the protocol of a three-year contract with the Veneto region for the implementation of training courses to improve the know-how of the current staff and to provide it to young and older unemployed people who are interested in entering the sector. In Italy, the regions have their own budget for this type of educational programs.

The courses will start next month and last until at least 2021. They will cost a total of €1.5 million, half of which will be allocated by the Veneto region, drawing on a European social fund. The companies affiliated with Anfao that are interested in taking advantage of this program will pay the other half.

The program will involve a total of at least 4,600 hours of training that can be combined in various ways in view of the requirements of the participating firms. A dozen courses will be complemented with a phase of apprenticeship in the companies themselves. The aim is to specialize workers in new technical skills that are hard to find in the job market and to train young product professionals in dealing with value-added processes that are specific to the eyewear industry.

The program is managed by Certottica, Anfao's certification institute, and Reviscar, a service company that works for a local industry association. They have been asked to implement two types of programs – one for unemployed people and the other one for people who are already employed in the sector. They will concern topics such as digitally controlled machinery, 3D printing, fast prototyping, automation, maintenance, the processing of metals and plastic materials and warehousing. They will also deal with lean manufacturing, general management and administration, domestic and international sales, and web marketing.

The Veneto region's eyewear cluster represents 80 percent of the Italian manufacturing industry in the sector. It counts about 400 companies employing over 12,000 people.