Leather sorters inspect and classify leather during and at the end of the production process according to the qualitative features, destinations of use and customer requirements. They work in the tannery and in the warehouses checking the quality, colour, size, thickness, softness and natural defects.
The following job titles also refer to leather sorter:
leather seconds inspector-grader
leather sorting supervisor
leather parts matcher
A high school diploma is generally required to work as a leather sorter.
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 sorter is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Leather sorter career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to leather sorter.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of leather sorter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of leather sorter 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 sorter.
- 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.
- Physico-chemical properties of crust leather: The properties, physical and chemical, of intermediate leather products that have already undergone tanning operations. These properties vary depending on the animal of origin and previous manufacturing processes.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of leather sorter.
- Think analytically: Produce thoughts using logic and reasoning in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Execute working instructions: Understand, interpret and properly apply work instructions regarding different tasks in the workplace.
- Identify with the company’s goals: Act for the benefit of the company and for the achievement of its targets.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of leather sorter. 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.
- 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.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of leather sorter. 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.
- Exert a goal-oriented leadership role towards colleagues: Embrace a leadership role in the organisation and with colleagues as to provide coaching and direction to subordinates aiming at the achievement of specific objectives.
- Monitor operations in the leather industry: Operational monitoring refers to collecting key system performance of leather production at periodic intervals or at the end of some specific phases of the leather process. This information gives a basis for observing, detecting and recording the operation of the machines and systems. The activity provides also the critical data to check the correct performance of the process and to monitor quality and throughput against product and production requirements.
- Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
- 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.
- 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.
ISCO group and title
7535 – Pelt dressers, tanners and fellmongers
- Leather sorter – ESCO