Leather Technology: managing a versatile material
Niche careers can be a good move if chosen carefully. Anyone who commits to a BSc program like the Leather Technology (Hons) from the UK’s Northampton University had better be sure the industry has a future. This one is probably a safe bet – people will always need shoes.
It’s maybe surprising to find a 3-year degree course dedicated to a single material. Yet the leather industry needs highly skilled technologists to oversee the production of leather items, and they need to know the whole process from animal to handbag. It might seem a rustic or primitive type of industry, but in fact a huge amount of science is involved. Northampton University is home to the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies, and with a famous leather industry, the city is the perfect place for this course.
Students are given a modern understanding of traditional and new leather processing chemistries and techniques to extend the properties and performance of leather and related biomaterials. Areas of research interest at the Institute include the viscoelastic response of leather to processing conditions, sustainability of leather manufacture, applied collagen research for medical applications, and modelling the mechanical processing of leather.
The course covers Leather Technology and Materials Evaluation, Raw Materials and End Use, Surface Coatings and Cleaner Leather Manufacture, alongside professional preparation such as Operations Management, Integrated Marketing Communication, Information Technology for Business, Supply Chain Operations Management and Marketing Management.
The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies offers other programs in the leather industry as well as the main Leather Technology BSc: a BA(Hons) Leather for Fashion, a Leatherseller’s Certificate, an MSc Leather Technology (Professional), and will also prepare candidates for a Leather PhD.