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Clay Paky and SME Days: when schools meet firms

On National SME Day (Small and Medium Enterprise Day), organized by Confindustria (the Italian employers’ federation) on 20 November 2010, some member firms invited head teachers, teaching staff, pupils and parents from schools in their areas on guided tours inside their industrial plants. 

By virtue of its widespread fame and active participation in many past socio-cultural events, Clay Paky – based in Seriate in the province of Bergamo – was one of the companies Confindustria proposed should play host to the pupils of a local middle school. 

As Luigi Roffia, the director of the Lombardy Regional Education Office, said: “The tour is a chance to show just how innovative and dynamic small and medium enterprises are, and how they pass on and develop the values of Italian business culture. It is also an opportunity to emphasize the social role of companies not only as places where economic value is produced, but also where our common future is built.” 

On the first National Small and Medium Enterprise Day, immediately rechristened SME Day, firms opened their doors to school children on the basis of guidelines laid down by Confindustria itself. The aim was to let pupils see plants, tools, and production processes; to illustrate products and how they work, live in corporate showrooms; and, most of all, to show how companies operate. 

Clay Paky organized a guided tour of its plant according to the guidelines, which included the research and development department, where the “intelligent light” project was conceived, and the test rooms, where the project took shape. Not to mention the production department, where our made-in-Italy products are built with Clay Paky’s distinctive pride, the warehouse, and the shipping department. 

“As it was logical to expect, the children were particularly fascinated by the light show set up in our showroom. For the first time ever, they were able to watch a professional light show in a ‘conscious’ way, where the lights blend with the music to create collective involvement,” said Enrico Caironi, Clay Paky Corporate Marketing Manager, who guided the pupils on the tour through the company. 

Gianluigi Viscardi, (Vice-Chairman of Confindustria Bergamo and Chairman of the Small Business Committee) pointed out the success of the event and said: “Our primary goal is to make our value, our principles and the passion that drives our actions clear to outsiders, and create our own history. This is the first time we have held this day, but Confindustria intends to make it a regular event in the years to come.” 

What is more, it is well known that Clay Paky has supported school and cultural activities in the area where it is based for quite some time. For example, it has worked together with the Istituto Scolastico Ettore Majorana in Seriate for over 10 years. It is the only company in the Bergamo area to be a member of the “laboratory for the development and support of innovation for the reorganization of technical secondary schools”, and it awards scholarships every year to the most deserving students. 

Other important support activities Clay Paky is involved in include cooperation with the P. Paleocapa Professional Technical Secondary School in Bergamo, and above all support to the “Show Lighting Design” Continuing Professional Development course, organized by the Design Faculty of the Politecnico di Milano. The course is aimed at professionals and technicians with or without degrees who wish to specialize in show lighting design. 

Fabiano Pina, Clay Paky Quality Service Manager, also told us that Clay Paky recently held a “teacher training course” at its plant as part of a Confindustria project: “the course was intended to be an opportunity for teachers to get to know local manufacturing companies directly and to meet and talk to company management, so that they may help pupils in their orientation.” The underlying theme this year regarded internationalization, the global market, emerging markets, and how to train human resources so that they may work in international contexts.