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Elkann blasted for chiding young people as lacking ambition

President of Fiat Chrysler says jobs exist if youth just look

14 February, 18:15
Elkann blasted for chiding young people as lacking ambition (ANSA) - Sondrio, February 14 - The president of Fiat Chrysler John Elkann was blasted on Friday after saying that work is available for young people, but too many do not have the drive to get out and find it.

In comments to students during a session at a bank headquarters in the northern city of Sondrio, near Italy's border with Switzerland, Elkann said that young people are lacking in ambition.

"The work is there, but young people are not very determined to find it," said Elkann, during a question and answer session on the topic of education.

As an example, he said, the hotel industry is always looking for employees, "but there is little (interest)...because young people are doing well or at home or do not have ambition".

His comments on employment seem inconsistent with Italy's unemployment rate for 15-to-24-year-olds recorded at 41.6% in December, the latest available figures. "If I look at the many initiatives that are there, I do not see in (young people) the desire to seize these opportunities," said Elkann, an American-born industrialist and grandson of Gianni Agnelli, whose family founded Turin-based Fiat and for decades been the principle shareholders. The comments rankled Italian politicians. "I believe that today the heir and representative of the Agnelli family has missed an opportunity to be silent," said Giorgio Airaudo, a member of the leftist Sel party who sits on a parliamentary labour committee.

"When you have (a) fortune and an ease of choice, you should have more respect and more understanding for those (who are) young, seeking every day to build and invent a future in a country where work is reduced, is precarious and decreased in value".