Bringing in the students

Mark Wilkinson in Hong Kong.
Mark Wilkinson in Hong Kong

One of the purposes of going out to Hong Kong is to attract new students so a look at our photo will let you know that Dr Wilkinson has been doing really well and that next academic year the Campus will be significantly brighter……….sadly no. Most of these are models from the centenary show although hidden in there is also Juan Pablo Salazar, a second year student and the youngest member of the Corium Club present – who proposed the toast.

In fact the School must be a bit unsure about next year as the recession has hit the trade so badly. On the other hand the cost has dropped hugely so coming to the BSLT is a lot cheaper than a year ago. In a downturn innovation, marketing and training are the three things you should not reduce so this is a good moment to persuade all your friends and colleagues to sign up for Northampton.

The Northamptonshire Leather Cluster

Ian Michel of Amandian
Ian Michel of Amandian

We have just seen the launch of website which “promotes Northamptonshire’s World Class Leather Industry”. It was very well attended and held at SATRA who gave us a carefully planned tour so we could see fire proof material set on fire, learn about coefficients of friction (0.3 is the critical point), and worry about candles and furniture. Certainly SATRA has developed into a really significant body which is still supreme in the worldwide footwear industry but has been able to build critical mass by taking its skills into other industry sectors. Today they employ nearly 200 people mostly in the UK but with a few in China.

One of the speeches was given by Ian Michel of Amandian who talked about being a leather merchant and the involvement his family has had with the leather industry since the 1850s. It is timely that this is being launched in the centenary year and it does seem that everyone in the East Midlands is excited by events. I was not so sure about holding all the main events in the middle of the summer but it looks as though both the Saturday and Sunday events will be busy in July. The Saturday 18 July 2009 is at the Park Campus University of Northampton and the Sunday is a tour of the old Bermondsey leather haunts with the archivists from the Leathersellers Company (the London Guild which has been so supportive of the University for many decades and who built the original Leathersellers College in London that opened in 1908) followed by lunch at Leathersellers Hall.

So while the industry is still somewhat under a cloud with the recession and we could all manage to get really miserable if we wanted this is an opportunity to meet old colleagues, remember old times and plan the next initiative.

Friday, 29 May 2009

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