Last Wednesday the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) was packed with students listening to chemical companies from Holland and Germany, to SATRA and the BLC plus a team from Aston Martin talking about careers in leather. An additional group including Lear (who have just complete their purchase of Eagle Ottawa), Church’s Shoes, Burberry, Pittards and Scottish Leather added to the stands as well for the afternoon walk through. All appeared pleased with the interest.
Slowly the image of leather is changing in the UK. ICLT is starting to see walk in students from the UK and Europe interested in leather and without family links to the trade. And as a group those of us in the industry are much more confident about talking positively about leather making as a career.
Some points need mentioning. With the industry growing again in Europe there are more job opportunities. Demands for new products, more testing, better control in the factories means that at all levels in the supply chain there are many new types of post being added for Northampton graduates who can add leather knowledge to their CVs.
And even beyond that the movement of manufacture to Asia and the associated loss of European recruitment for over a decade when added to the steady forthcoming retirement of large numbers of the boomer generation means that many more places will fall vacant over the next few years. No wonder we have a 100% record for putting graduates into jobs: interesting, good quality jobs with real career prospects.
So it is not just the Aston Martin we should be excited about. It’s the jobs available in making it and so many other great products made from leather and in the tanneries making that leather.
1st March 2015