Chaumet workshop

PARIS — Adapting to the times — and marking its commitment to vocational training in European luxury craftsmanship — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton moved its annual ceremony for trainees of its Institut des Métiers d’Excellence program online, complementing the event with small gatherings in workshops in Paris.

Kicking off the seventh school year, Chantal Gaemperle, who heads the group’s human resources activities and founded the program, applauded the engagement of students, and noted support from organizers.

“You were able to count on the unfailing support of the the teams of the IME, the maisons of the group and the 22 partner schools,” she said, speaking through a Zoom meeting. LVMH counts 18 company-run training schools.

“It’s an entire ecosystem offering responsibility, unity and solidarity, that is by your side to allow you to continue to learn from the best and acquire the unique skills that are so precious to our maisons,” added Gaemperle.

Last year’s ceremony brought together 300 people for a photo shoot, and featured LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault, who declared “we are all artisans at LVMH.”

These days, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the relevance of such programs, noted Gaemperle, who lauded work by apprentices in couture making masks and the role of technology students who helped professors move their classes online.

“IME is a community of 900 apprentices, more than half have found work in our various activities,” she said.

“To those who haven’t found a contract, in this difficult context, I would like to say this: we are convinced of your value and your potential and you can count on the IME to accompany you,” said Gaemperle.

The program, which counts apprentices in France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, covers dozens of crafts and creative professions and includes retail training.

LVMH has also partnered with local authorities in cities with limited resources, and hosts a vocational fair every year in Clichy-sous-Bois, a Paris suburb.

The online event featured executives and trainees at Tag Heuer in Switzerland, who explained how they set up new training sessions online as well as a laboratory center of research and development for the group’s cosmetics activity.

Participants outlined the challenges of training during lockdown period, explaining how they drew up projects that were compatible with the constraints.

Complementing the online meeting, LVMH held small gatherings at the Dior and Chaumet workshops in Paris.

“We are lucky to be able to work with our hands,” noted an apprentice in the Chaumet workshop, which overlooks the Place Vendôme. He explained the differences of working with gold and platinum — platinum is more challenging to manipulate — and noted that he often gets questioned about the challenge of working with valuable stones.

“As artisans, we’re more focused on the work,” he explained.

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