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Article: Leather Work

Summary

This article covers the following jobs:

  • Leather Technologist
  • Leather Worker.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Introduction

Leather is a natural material produced from animal hides and skins. Work in the leather industry involves preparing the leather and making leather products. Some firms specialise in one or the other.

Leather goods manufacturers use leather to make a wide range of products including shoes, clothes, bags, sports goods and furniture.

Some of the different careers in this area

Leather Technologist

Leather technologists use their knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry and physics to improve the processing of leather. They deal with problems that arise during the manufacturing process, mostly relating to quality control.

During processing, technologists test samples of leather to make sure that it is being processed in the way that the customer wants it, and to a high standard. If any defects or shortfalls, such as uneven dyeing, are found, the cause must be identified.

Technologists are responsible for suggesting alternative procedures, processes or chemicals that will prevent problems from happening again. They also have to manage production so that the company runs efficiently and makes a profit.

Some technologists work in research and development, although only a few companies employ their own full-time research scientists.

To enter this career, you'll usually need a degree or other high-level qualification. Courses in materials technology and related subjects are useful for people wanting to become leather technologists.

Leather Worker

Leather workers may work for firms that mass-produce items in a factory or for small companies, workshops and one-person businesses that make articles using traditional craft techniques.

Stitching of leather may be done by hand or using a machine. In many cases, leather craftworkers design the articles that they make. These are normally small goods, such as wallets, belts, gloves, luggage, footwear, coats and some items of furniture.

A specialised branch of craft leatherwork is saddlery. Saddlers make and repair leather riding goods, such as saddles, bridles and reins. These tasks tend to be done by hand, mainly because riding equipment is often 'tailor-made'.

No formal qualifications are usually needed for entry to this work. Relevant courses of all types and levels are available at colleges and training centres.

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships in Fashion and Textiles are available. Some people use this as a route into the career.

Further Information

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT)

Tel: 01604 735500

Email: iclt@northampton.ac.uk

Website: www.northampton.ac.uk/about-us/academic-schools/school-of-science-and-technology/subject-areas/leather-technology/institute-for-creative-leather-technologies

Society of Master Saddlers (SMS)

Address: Green Lane Farm, Stonham, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 5DS

Tel: 01449 711642

Email: enquiries@mastersaddlers.co.uk

Website: www.mastersaddlers.co.uk

BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd

Address: Kings Park Road, Moulton Park, Northampton NN3 6JD

Tel: 01604 679999

Email: info@blcleathertech.com

Website: www.blcleathertech.com

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