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New German qualification

Closer to Schools and Students

1. Introduction of a prize for the best graduates of a German course as specialist in leather production and tanning processes

In cooperation with the Association of Tannery, Chemistry and Technology (VGCT e.V.) and as a measure of motivation and young talent development, German leather association VDL has created an award for the best graduate as specialist in leather production and tanning equipment.

AwardB1bThe prize of 500 Euros was handed over on 14 June 2016 to Mr Michael Wolf who graduated with honour in the new qualification and works as skilled worker at SÜDLEDER where he is also youth representative volunteer in the Works Council.

Asked what is the main motivation for his career decision, Michael Wolf says it is "to do something in which you have direct contact with the product and to have a job where you can see and feel what you've achieved."

The prize was given during the 5th Freiberg Leather Days, by VGCT Chairman, Dr Beate Haaser (SÜDLEDER tannery), Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano (COTANCE) and Dr Thomas Schröer (Verband der Deutschen Lederindustrie).

The Freiberg Leather Days (organizers: VGCT and FILK) is the largest annual congress of the leather industry and was thus the best forum for a dignified announcement of the award and its effective promotion.

210 participants from 17 European countries attended the ceremony. Among them Mr Thomas Bee (Schafstall Holding), President of COTANCE, and Mr Jonathan Muirhead (Scottish Leather Group), Vice-President of COTANCE.

2) Introduction of a new qualification for successful students in the leather industry

After completion of the first EU project Leather is my job, the Management Board of VDL decided to promote the new qualification of leather technician (VA) as part of the follow-up project and a means to motivate and promote talent amongst the youth.

To obtain the job title, three conditions must be complied with:

  • three years' professional experience,
  • a successful master training in technical or scientific fields such as chemistry, industry, engineering or orthopedics and
  • the successful completion of a state-approved additional qualification in tanning and leather technology at FILK.

Earlier this year, the first three students completed the last condition, ie the successful completion of an additional qualification in tanning and leather technology at FILK and received their new qualifications as leather technicians (VA):

  • Mr Achim Kolesch, who has worked at the Jürgen Kolesch Sämisch Leather tannery since the beginning of his apprenticeship and represents the ninth generation in the family business so far as “Meister” and now as leather technician (VA);

  • Mr Ayhan Yildirim who has held the position of deputy division head and process developer at BADER since September 2013;

  • Mr Osman Yildirim who has worked as skilled worker in the dyeing department at BADER for the last 7 years.

The certificates were handed over at the Freiberg Leather Days on June 15, 2016 by VDL chairman, Mr Thomas Strebost (HELLER-LEDER GmbH & Co. KG), Dr Thomas Schröer (VDL eV) and Mr Gustavo Gonzales-Quijano (COTANCE).


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Leather is my Job - Follow-Up

Leather is my Job ! wins European Commission support for a follow-up phase

After a highly successful first project on the promotion of jobs in the EU leather industry, COTANCE and industriAll are happy to announce that a follow-up project will be rolled out throughout 2016 and half 2017.

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The objectives of this second initiative mainly focus on enlarging and deepening the results achieved.

“The feedback received from the industry in Europe to our first project, both from workers and businesses, was so encouraging that we did not hesitate to pursue our objectives further in the field,” said the EU social partners of the leather industry at their kick-off meeting.

They also reported positive reactions from extra-EU sources and from leather value chain partners. “This is highly encouraging,” said Mr Luc Triangle, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll-European Trade Union, “as it denotes that we are on the right track in the social dialogue of our sector.” COTANCE’s Secretary General,  Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, added “I am very pleased that through this initiative, Luc and I bring Europe closer to the leather businesses and workers who many not always see all that is done at EU level in support of the industry.”

This second Leather is my Job! Project will bring together the sectoral trade associations and/or trade unions from: France, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Romania, Sweden, Italy, Austria, and Hungary.

Activites developed at national level will focus on open-days in tanneries, visits to schools, contact with employment agencies, participation in job fairs, etc. A meeting of all project partners schedules for March 2016 will look at the national initiatives and decide on the definitive activities to be performed.

EU social partners are also going to reach out for other sector’s organisations not yet involved and offer them the possibilities to engage in the initiative. COTANCE and industriAll-ETU are particularly thinking of central and Eastern leather industry actors to allow them to join the collective endeavour for the sake of the image of leather and the promotion of its potential as a career option for people, notably young entrants into the labour market who can find quality jobs in Europe.

Brussels, December 2015

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Update on "Leather is my Job"

Europe’s Social Partners meet in Edinburgh to review progress in their “Leather is my job!” initiative

LIMJ postcardThe Scottish city of Edinburgh hosted the Mid-Term meeting of the “Leather is my job!” project developed by the Social Partners of the European Leather Industry with the support of the European Commission. The objective of this Social Dialogue initiative is to awake the appetite of people, in particular young people thinking about their professional careers, for the leather industry. By providing the testimonies of those already working in the industry and conveying the reasons for their career choice, both sides of the leather industry intend to break certain deeply rooted misconceptions about this profession that is offering good jobs.

In Edinburgh, the project partners from the UK, France, Spain, Portugal and Romania reviewed the progress in the collection of testimonies and the lessons drawn from the two regional workshops organised (Northampton, UK; Bucharest, RO) in May. 25 tanneries in 7 countries provided 51 testimonies and more are yet to come. The appeal of the initiative to the industry exceeded the Social Partners’ initial expectations, a sign indicating the appropriateness of the project. Also the two regional workshops were much appreciated, notably for the insight they provided in both “new and old” EU Member States in a number of areas regarding apprenticeships, education, training, skills and qualifications and the commonality of the challenges and opportunities.

Under the chair of the EU Social Partners, COTANCE and industriAll, the project partners took a number of operational decisions regarding activities related to the preparation of the promotional material and the organisation of the final event of the initiative.

Final Conference in Bucharest on 23 October

“Leather is my job!” will be showcased at the 5th ICAMS 2014 Opening. Indeed, the project’s final event will take place in Bucharest on the 23rd of October 2014 where the material produced will be presented to the public. ICAMS is the International Conference on Advanced Materials and Systems organised by ICPI, the Romanian Leather Technology Institute. Every second year, it gathers the scientific community, businessmen, educators and academia as well as students and public authorities around innovation in the industrial production of materials and systems in the leather sector. Registrations are still open for anyone wishing to attend the 5th ICAMS in Bucharest.

On that occasion, the European Social Partners of the Leather industry will present the result of their one-year project and illustrate the lessons learned during its development.

June 2014