Teaching is his sole passion.
When you make your own shoes with Franz Kälin in Brienz, you learn a lot more than just the basics of working with leather, pliers and shoemaking lasts. His training workshop is an oasis. The master shoemaker is a humanitarian who has found his calling.
His father and his godfather were both also master shoemakers. As a child, Franz Kälin was in and out of his father’s cramped workshop, delivering the mended shoes to customers’ homes. Even though he felt no enthusiasm for his father’s profession, he started an apprenticeship as a shoemaker. “I just did the apprenticeship because you have to do something. The idea was also that I would take over the business”, says Franz Kälin.
But things turned out differently. He wanted to work with people and pass on his knowledge. After completing his professional qualification, he managed a shoemaking training workshop at a youth centre. In 1988, he started evening classes and trained as a social worker at the same time. After several years working as a daycare centre manager at the University Psychiatric Services in Bern, he decided to concentrate on teaching.
“The first course was an absolute treat”, remembers Kälin. “I knew immediately – this is what I want to do.” He still offers a repair service, but only spends about half a day a week on it. Teaching is his passion. His credo: “I don’t hold my knowledge back in order to strengthen my position.” Typical Franz.
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