Leather and Leather Products Institute

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COTANCE launches new project to show leather is a good industry to work in

The representative body of the leather industry in the European Union (EU), COTANCE, has launched a new initiative to promote the leather and tanning sector as an attractive career choice for young people and jobseekers.

At a meeting in Brussels on December 13, COTANCE announced the new project, called Leather is My Job. It will work jointly on the idea with trade union organisation industriAll; together they refer to themselves as the sectors “social partners”. The initiative has the support of the European Commission.

For many companies in Europe’s tanning sector it has become increasingly difficult to recruit qualified people, in spite of a high level of unemployment, COTANCE has said. The leather industry believes, however, that there is an increasing interest among young people in craftsmanship and design, manual work with authentic natural materials, and in more environmentally friendly industries. “The tanning industry offers all that; it recovers and recycles waste from the meat industry and transforms it into leather, one of the world’s most prestigious and highly sought after materials,” COTANCE said following the Brussels meeting.

Leather is My Job will aim to use this increase in interest to improve the tanning industry’s image in the eyes of jobseekers. It will involve representatives of the two social partners in seven EU member states: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Romania and Bulgaria. Italy has opted not to take part, but will host an event to evaluate progress towards the end of the project. Participants will share information and experience in an effort to identify best practice and improve the way the European tanning sector presents itself as a source of jobs and as a good industry to work in.

Following the Brussels meeting, COTANCE told leatherbiz that it wanted to look separately at the way tanners recruit in eastern and western Europe. It said it wanted to assess whether there is an east-west divide in the sector’s labour market, or differences in employment and training policies.

COTANCE wants tanners in the seven member states to contribute directly by submitting material that shows them to be modern employers. Specifically, the organisation suggested that tanners send to Brussels testimonials from tannery workers, including photographs of them in the workplace to show the variety of jobs available in tanneries. COTANCE said it would be interested to hear from tannery workers about how they ended up in the industry and what they most like about their jobs.


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