Leather goods artisanal workers manufacture leather goods or parts of leather goods by hand according to the specifications of the customer or their own design. They do repairs of leather goods such as shoes, bags and gloves.
The duties of a leather goods artisanal worker include, but are not limited to:
- Hand or machine sewing and product assembly
- Trimming and cutting leather
- Quality checking finished leather goods
- Repairing /or reworking leather goods
The following job titles also refer to leather goods artisanal worker:
luxury leather artisan
leather articles artisanal worker
leather craft worker
leatherwear artisanal worker
leather repair worker
bespoke leather craftsman
bespoke leather craftswoman
leather accessories artisanal worker
A leather goods artisanal worker can be employed by a large, medium, small or micro size business. They can be based in a design studio, workshop or on a factory production line, depending on the size of the business. Conditions can be noisy, work can be repetitive and deadlines have to be met.
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a leather goods artisanal worker.
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.
Leather goods artisanal worker is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Leather goods artisanal worker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to leather goods artisanal worker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of leather goods artisanal worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of leather goods artisanal worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of leather goods artisanal worker.
- Leather goods manufacturing processes: The processes, technology and machinery involved in the leather goods manufacturing.
- Leather goods components: The various procedures and methods in the processing of leather materials and leather goods components like manufacturability and properties.
- Leather physical testing: Set of tests that describe physical features of leather. They include the analysis of the performance characteristics of leather, such as resistance to bending, to friction, to tearing, etc.
- Leather goods quality: The quality specifications of materials, processes, and final products, the most common defects in leather, quick tests procedures, laboratory tests procedures and standards, and the adequate equipment for quality checks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Manual cutting processes for leather: Cutting rules, variance of the leather properties on its surface and elongation directions of the footwear pieces.
- Leather products maintenance: The way to maintain the quality of leather products, the product types and their effects.
- Leather goods materials: The wide range of materials used in leather goods production: leather, leather substitutes (synthetics or artificial materials), textile, etc; the way of distinguishing among various materials based on their properties, advantages and limitations.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of leather goods artisanal worker.
- Use manual sewing techniques: Use manual sewing and stitching techniques to manufacture or repair fabrics or textile-based articles.
- Repair leather goods: Adjust, treat, repair and replace broken or deteriorated parts of leather goods such as shoes, bags and gloves.
- Identify defects on raw hides: Analyse, identify and evaluate the possible defects present on raw hides/skins. Defects may be of natural origin (e.g. damage by parasites), caused by bad practices at the farm, in transport, at the abattoir (e.g. incorrect flaying, pre-slaughter defects, improper conservation) or generated during the manufacturing process. The classification of Hides/skins and their subdivision into “selections” is based on the nature, magnitude and location of defects. The class of selection determines the type of processing, and consequently the type of article.
- 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. Interpreting and applying the instructions, including technical and operational details for the execution of processes.
- Work in textile manufacturing teams: Work harmoniously with colleagues in teams in the textile and clothing manufacturing industries.
- 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.
- Execute working instructions: Understand, interpret and properly apply work instructions regarding different tasks in the workplace.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of leather goods artisanal worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Health and safety in the workplace: The body of rules, procdeures and regulations related to safety, health and welfare of people in their workplace.
- 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 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.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of leather goods artisanal worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- 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.
- Lead a team: Lead, supervise and motivate a group of people, in order to meet the expected results within a given timeline and with the foreseen resources in mind.
- Use authentic crafting techniques: Restore old objects by means of the tools and techniques that were originally used in their production process.
- Think analytically: Produce thoughts using logic and reasoning in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.
ISCO group and title
7318 – Handicraft workers in textile, leather and related materials
- Leather goods artisanal worker – ESCO
- Leather Craftsperson – UKFT
- Featured image: By Ryadh Gharbi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0