Leather technologist

Leather technologists prepare, treat and finish leather to make it ready for manufacturing.

Average salary (a year)

£14,500 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

43 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become a leather technologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in a subject like:

  • leather technology
  • fashion and design technology
  • garment technology

You could also do a postgraduate course in leather technology run by the University of Northampton. You'll need experience in the industry or a relevant first degree to apply.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including a science subject
  • 2 or 3 A levels
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

College

You could do a Level 3 Diploma in Leather Production.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could do an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles leather production, or a fashion and textiles product technologist higher apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

More information

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists for technical advice, networking opportunities and professional development training.

Further information

You can find more details about working in the leather technology industry from Eurofins BLC Leather Technology Centre.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • observation and recording skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a day-to-day basis you'll prepare and finish leather by:

  • removing hair and tissue
  • cleaning, tanning and preserving the hide using salt, chemicals and vegetable extracts
  • colouring and drying the leather
  • applying finishes to hide flaws and add waterproof coatings

You might also spend time:

  • supervising others
  • researching, testing and sampling chemicals, dyes and products in the laboratory
  • monitoring waste and by-products
  • writing up research and operational reports
  • checking the leather before it’s sent to product manufacturers

Working environment

You could work in an office, in a laboratory, in a factory or in a workshop.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into related jobs like production manager, company chemist, buyer or technical salesperson. 

You could move into other jobs in quality control, research or technical management. You could also move into related areas such as buying, sales or marketing. 

You could set up your own research or consultancy business and work freelance for retail firms and leather companies.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Sewing Machine Apprentice

  • Wage : To be agreed upon appointment
  • Location: Catterick Garrison DL9 4GA

Textile Embroidery Apprentice

  • Wage : £144.30 Weekly
  • Location: Wotton-Under-Edge GL12 7AE

Courses In England

Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles GCE

  • Provider: William Farr CofE Comprehensive School
  • Start date: 02 September 2020
  • Location: LINCOLN

A Level Fashion and Textiles

  • Provider: Invicta Grammar School
  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: Maidstone

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