Colour sampling operator


Colour sampling operators apply colours and finish mixes according to the defined recipes. They apply pigments, dyes or other finishing mixes.

Includes people performing activities in colour kitchen, spraying and coating lines.
Excludes people performing activities of leather colour recipe design.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to colour sampling operator:

colouring machine operator
colour sampling operators
color sampling operator
coloring machine operator
colour mixer
color sampling operators
color mixer
color blender
color maker
colour blender
colour maker

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a colour sampling operator.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Colour sampling operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Colour sampling operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to colour sampling operator.

leather finishing operator
leather production machine operator
leather measuring operator
leather sorter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of colour sampling operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of colour sampling operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

leather laboratory technician
colour sampling technician
leather goods production supervisor
footwear quality control laboratory technician
footwear quality technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of colour sampling operator.

  • Spray finishing technology: Equipment, technologies and techniques for spray finishing of leather according to product specification. Topics include surface preparation, equipment types, preparation of finishing mixtures, operation monitoring and spray applications related to different type of finishing, coatings and final articles.
  • Characteristics of chemicals used for tanning: Composition and physico-chemical properties of auxiliary chemicals used in the different tanning processes (tanning agents, fat liquors, pigments, dyes, etc.)
  • Leather colour chemistry: Understand colour chemistry, the application and behaviour of dyes and colouring materials in relation to leather.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of colour sampling operator.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Adapt to changing situations: Change approach to situations based on unexpected and sudden changes in people’s needs and mood or in trends; shift strategies, improvise and naturally adapt to those circumstances.
  • Use communication techniques: Apply techniques of communication which allow interlocutors to better understand each other and communicate accurately in the transmission of messages.
  • Apply colouring recipes correctly: Prepare colour and other chemical mixtures in accordance with the recipes and/or the characteristics of the article to be achieved. Interpret and apply the instructions, including technical and operational details for the execution of processes.
  • Prepare colour mixtures: Prepare colour mixtures in accordance with the recipes and/or the characteristics of the article to be achieved.
  • Differentiate nuance of colours: The talent to analyse, mix and match colours. Be able to pass a colour acuity test.
  • Work in textile manufacturing teams: Work harmoniously with colleagues in teams in the textile and clothing manufacturing industries.
  • Manage environmental impact of operations: Manage the interaction with and impact on the environment by companies. Identify and assess environmental impacts of the production process and related services, and regulate a reduction of the effects on the environment and on people. Organise action plans and monitor any indicators of improvement.
  • Execute working instructions: Understand, interpret and properly apply work instructions regarding different tasks in the workplace.
  • Use IT tools: Application of computers, computer networks and other information technologies and equipment to storing, retrieving, transmitting and manipulating data, in the context of a business or enterprise.
  • Identify with the company’s goals: Act for the benefit of the company and for the achievement of its targets.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of colour sampling operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Health and safety in the workplace: The body of rules, procedures and regulations related to safety, health and welfare of people in their workplace. 
  • Leather technology: Subject that includes traditional and advanced technologies of tanning processes, including machinery, service plants and other supporting equipment like moving or dosing systems.
  • Physico-chemical properties of hides and skins: The quality of hides and skins is defined by organoleptic, microbiological, histological and chemical characteristics (i.e. moisture, structure of the dermis, percentage of fat and collagen). Each type of hide/skin has specific physical and chemical properties that affect the type of tanning operations and the most suitable end use of the leather.
  • Test leather chemistry: Set of tests that describe chemical features of leather. They include pH and content of specific substances.
  • Leather finishing technologies: Equipment, technologies and techniques for coating and laminating finishing of leather according to product specification. Topics include surface preparation, equipment types, preparation of substrata, operation monitoring and applications related to different types of finishing, coatings and final articles.
  • Functionalities of machinery: The machinery and equipment used and, in particular, the characteristics regarding functioning and calibration to ensure compliance with quality and product specifications, as well as the operator’s safety.
  • Leather chemistry: Chemical composition and chemical properties of hide/skin and chemicals used and their modification during the different tanning processes. Reactions between hide/skin or semi-finished leather and chemical products during the different phases of process and the factors affecting the performance of the reactions and of the process. Monitoring of the chemical indicators of processing and the characteristics of skins/hides/leather.
  • Source colour chemicals: Full range of available dyes and colours chemicals suitable for leather and where to source them.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of colour sampling operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Think analytically: Produce thoughts using logic and reasoning in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.
  • Identify defects on raw hides: Analyse, identify and evaluate the possible defects present on raw hides/skins. Defects may be of natural origin, caused by bad practices at the farm, in transport, at the abattoir or generated during the manufacturing process.
  • Test chemical auxiliaries: Conduct analysis to characterise the content of the mixtures of chemical auxiliaries. These include the determination of the water content, the amount of active principles declared, looking for potential hazards, etc.
  • Monitor operations in the leather industry: Collect key system performance of leather production at periodic intervals or at the end of some specific phases of the leather process, in order to detect and record the operation of machines and systems and monitor that the process follows the product and production requirements.
  • Develop manufacturing recipes: Describe in detail the set of activities necessary for the proper operation and management of processes (amount of chemical products, planning of timing and processing, monitoring). 
  • Address problems critically: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various abstract, rational concepts, such as issues, opinions, and approaches related to a specific problematic situation in order to formulate solutions and alternative methods of tackling the situation.
  • Manage quality of leather throughout the production process: Manage systems for the customer-focused organisation of leather production processes. It uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate the quality approach into the culture and activities of the company and also to achieve the organisation’s mission and goals.

ISCO group and title

8155 – Fur and leather preparing machine operators

  1. Colour sampling operator – ESCO
Last updated on July 30, 2022

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