Ladder for the Black Country: Festival aims to boost leather skills

The Walsall Festival of Leather will run from November 15 to 19 in a bid to get more youngsters interested in leather.

Walsall Leather Skills Centre
Walsall Leather Skills Centre

The Leather Skills Centre opens its doors to Year 10 and 11 pupils from local schools to try leatherwork and learn about apprenticeships and career opportunities available in the sector.

Special guest is leather expert Suzie Fletcher who will be cutting the ribbon to relaunch the leather centre on November 18.

The centre was officially opened by Andy Street in October 2020. But due to the disruption caused by Covid, the centre and will now be relaunched and offer training to help create jobs and supporting the leather businesses upon which Walsall’s reputation has been based for centuries.

The Saddlers Company trade visit to the town is also scheduled for November 18 and 19. The trade committee will be visiting the Leather Skills Centre as well as a number of local employers that are key to the leather industry in Walsall and the surrounding areas.

The centre also welcomes new tutor Christer Dahlberg who will be managing and teaching local leatherwork and saddlery apprentices from November 1.

The week will be concluded with an awards ceremony to celebrate the first annual young leather craftsperson of the year. Nominations for the award close on October 29.

This award is open to all Walsall leatherwork company employees who are aged between 16 to 29-years-old who have demonstrated passion for the industry, dedication, ambition, drive and commitment, paired with excellent practical application of their skills and knowledge.

Those behind Walsall Festival of Leather hope it will raise awareness of a skills shortage and reinvigorate an ageing workforce in the town’s saddlery and leather industries.

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