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Leather technologist

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,500 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 30 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. You could get in to this role by:

  • starting in a manufacturing or laboratory operations role
  • completing a fashion and textiles (Ieather goods) apprenticeship
  • completing a leather production certificate or diploma
  • studying a degree or master's  in leather technology
Mechanical and engineering knowledge might also be useful.

Creative Skillset has more information about this career.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • an ability in science, especially chemistr
  • organisational and planning skills 
  • the ability to work methodically and accurately
  • creativity for developing new ideas and solving problems
  • the ability to analyse and interpret lab test results

3. What you'll do

You’ll prepare, treat and finish leather using chemical processes, like:

  • curing – preserving the hide, using salting, chilling or biochemical methods
    liming and fleshing – removing hair and tissue from the hide
  • de-liming and bating – neutralising the alkalis produced in the previous stage with enzymes
  • pickling and de-greasing – preparing the hide for tanning, and using solvents to clear surplus grease
  • tanning – using various chemical and vegetable extracts to stop the leather from decaying
  • dyeing and drying – colouring and mechanically drying the leather
  • finishing – applying finishes to conceal surface flaws and provide protective coatings like waterproofing

Your other day-to-day duties could include:

  • 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

4. Salary

Starter: £14,500 to £18,500

Experienced: £20,000 to £26,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may also work shifts including evenings and weekends.

You’ll be based in a factory, workshop or laboratory.

You’ll wear protective clothing.

6. 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.

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Last updated: 07 December 2016