tailor, shoemaker, cabinet-maker, dentist, gentlemen's hairdresser
APPEAL to all concerned in the field of politics, management and education.
Since 1965 I am succesfully practising my profession of gentlemen's hairdresser in Amsterdam. I consider myself as a contemporary "figaro/barber" and my saloon serves as a meeting place. The most important standards in my trade are: personel attention and individuality. I practice my profession in a most natural way. This is in contrast with the operation of most of the present hairdressers À la minute: modernisation, rationalisation, complex machinery etc. They forget the real profession. SOCIAL and CULTURAL VALUES are neglected and the result is SOCIAL and ECONOMIC POVERTY.
Consequently the distance between customer and tradesman increases by lack of a confidential relationship. Nobody is happy with this situation. The customer considers the craftsman as a necessary evil and the craftsman hardly takes pleasure in his job. The elderly hairdresser often has to stop working early because of the physical hardships and economic inefficiency. Of course he may be entitled to social benefits, but he will feel expelled und useless and his expertise disappears.
Therefore the younger people (also those from ethnic minorities) shows very little interest in an education in these trades. Also some of them were born in countries with a rich tradition in craftsmanship. These young people should be stimulated to take up a profession as a craftsman.
In the industrialised society trades like gentlemen's hairdresser, shoemaker, tailor etc. do have a future. BASIC TRADES = JOBS! For this purpose conditions must be created in the field of politics, education and trade unions. This would have to generate social acknowledgement for the BASIC TRADES, make them attractive as a profession for young people and expel moonlighting.
For the trade of gentlemen's hairdresser (but also applicable to any basic trade within the E.U.) I think of a specially adjusted training for the young (especially from ethnic minorities) with extra supervision during the whole training course by older, more experienced tradesmen who are unemployed or retired and who are able to act as mentor. These young people can, by means of the practice of a profession, acquire a reputable place in society. They will feel SOCIALLY ACCEPTED and do not have to fall back to VANDALISM and CRIMINALITY.
The existing schoolings stress mainly the theory. In my opinion practice is the best teacher for tradesmanship. Nationally there are hardly any tradesmen left and it would be advisable to create room for practice within for example children's homes, hospitals and homes for the elderly.
These institutions give ample opportunity to gain practical experience and to learn how to deal with people. The (temporary) inhabitant may have his hair cut by an apprentice-hairdresser under supervision of the older, more experienced tradesman. The knife cuts both ways: the inhabitant is satisfied because he can, within the institution, have his hair cut and the same time be socially activel; the older professional regains his position within society and can convey his professional experience to the young. The young learn the basic tradesman's skills. They learn, that the professional must always be ready to serve his clients and that he always must be willing to think, listen and help.
All this is not necessarily expensive. Training organizations can give the mentors a small expense allowance as a socially acceptable, welcome addition to the tradesman's basic income. The young people can get a small remuneration as an extra stimulant.
P.S. If you are involved with society and the appeal does not suit your normal professional activities, please redirect this letter to the appropriate person or institution.
I hope these things are completely clear and I am always ready for further explanation. From tuesday till saturday you may contact me at my business address, on mondays at my private address.