Co-operative work experience: an Italian perspective
17-year-old Italian student Claudia Genovese has come to Britain for two weeks during her summer holidays to experience our co-operative system and gain experience working with the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.
Claudia is from Trento in the Italian region of Trentino, which is famous for its co-operatives. Her mother is very involved in the movement, working for the Co-operative Federation, and has visited both the Co-operative College and the Pioneers Museum in the past!
Claudia is in the UK to improve her English, and thought she would get better practice in a work situation than in a language college where she might be surrounded by fellow Italians. She has been finding out about Manchester life and visiting other museums in her spare time, and says she has also learned a lot about co-operatives in two weeks.
Claudia thinks co-operatives have to different emphasis in the UK to Italy. She explains: “Here, there is more of a tradition people believe in. You have an attachment to the past and are really careful about it and respect it. It is an important part of your past.”
Claudia has been working alongside Museum staff Jenny Broadbent, Jonny Priestley and Clare Hirst. She has been translating museum materials into Italian for future visitors, and researching souvenirs. She said: “I really hope it will be ready soon! All these guys really care about it and it’s nice to see that young people like their work.”
Claudia has enjoyed her two-week placement. She says: “It’s tiring but it’s very different to my everyday life!” Her mother’s colleagues will listen to her reports of her work experience with interest when she returns and who knows, we could see more sons and daughters of Italian co-operators visiting in the future!
Claudi’s mother, Arianna Guilianni, said: “A big, big thank to you and to all your team for Claudia’s great experience of the English co-operation. She learned moreover to love and share the co-operative principles and the co-operative approach to life; something that it is hardly teachable for a mother of a teenager (at least for me!).
“She learned to appreciate your life and work style. Everything and everybody stimulated her curiosity in order to open her mind and to become more conscious of world emergencies and real problems, to understand the difference between school time and work time. It is an extraordinary goal in two weeks!”
Published On: August 1, 2012
Written By: Natalie