Each September, with the return to school in France, the Manufacto programme has increased its reach. In the 2022-2023 school year, fourteen boards of education (Amiens, Besançon, Bordeaux, Créteil, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Normandy, Orléans-Tours, Paris, Reims, Toulouse and Versailles) are participating in the programme, introducing 1,950 primary- and secondary-school pupils in seventy-five schools to artisan skills.
Over the course of twelve sessions, the pupils are accompanied by a craftsperson and an assistant as they create, step-by-step, an object that is both beautiful and useful – a pencil case, a lamp, a footstool, a shelf, or a document wallet – based on a design by the BrichetZiegler studio. With the help of their teachers, each class discovers the gestures, the tools and the techniques that will allow them to acquire the skills of plasterwork, leatherwork, carpentry or leather upholstery. Pupils familiarise themselves with a specific vocabulary adapted to their age group, and carry out the manufacturing stages with precision and concentration, all the while discovering the pleasure of creating with their own hands. A dynamic of support and solidarity emerges during these unique classes, which often allow unexpected talents to come to light.
The programme facilitates the discovery of manual craft techniques, and promotes the values associated with them, such as the transmission of knowledge and skills, rigorous standards and mutual aid. It was first piloted by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès in 2016 in schools overseen by the Paris board of education, in collaboration with the Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France and in partnership with the École Camondo (Paris). Since then, new boards of education have joined the scheme each year to support the gradual roll-out of the programme across France. Through the practical discovery of craft knowledge and skills, Manufacto contributes to educational fulfilment through hands-on learning, revealing hidden talents and even allowing some pupils to discover a possible professional vocation.