Working with leather never got better

India’s leather industry is the fourth largest in the world and not only offers attractive products to consumers at home but also around the world. Offering many career choices, this industry has a lot more potential that can be tapped once more investment is done and the latest technology is brought in. A crucial fact about leather technology is that it has recently entertained experienced professionals, as there were once no academic or research institutes in this field. However, the modern requirement to implement the latest technology to produce a fine range of leather products has resulted in the setting up of various institutes that teach one all about the raw material and the use of technology to produce effective and suitable ware.

This is a fast-changing scenario and, as a result, it is crucial to keep pace with the latest developments in the field. A degree programme or diploma in leather technology is essential to make an impactful entry. The courses are designed to cater to the specific requirements of the industry and enable a candidate to fit into a specific job.

A background in chemistry is beneficial for those aspiring to shine in this discipline as later on they will have to deal in chemicals in the processing of products. Opportunities of opening small production ;eather units cannot be ruled out, particularly when smallscale industries are being given aid and the technology is low cost-intensive and requires relatively small investment and power supply. Cheap labour and available raw material in India are some other advantages for opening a production unit.

Aspirants wanting a breakthrough in this field can do various short-term certificate courses. Besides, there are some degree courses which are being offered by some universities. Depending on interest and orientation, one can either go for designing or get into the technical aspects. The designing and production processes are both equally attractive in terms of compensation packages.

Leather designing is attractive as it can turn one into a world famous personality. Similarly, a degree or diploma in leather production can help you work with leather manufacturing companies and tanneries. Subsequent to gaining some experience one can start his own production unit. It may not have been a great career a few decades ago, but today the situation has changed a lot. Leather is no longer considered untouchable; rather, it has become a part of modern accessories in possession of almost all section of people. A career in this field, particularly designing is not only high paying but glamorous too. However, as any occupation is subject to interest and flair, leather technology is no exception.

Before deciding, aspirant should think of various conditions. For instance working in smelly tanneries or leather processing units can be difficult. Additionally, there cannot be any guarantee that a leather designer can turn out to be a celebrity designer as it requires lot more than mere designing excellence. Jobs in leather companies are quite challenging but profitable and offer learning experience that one can later use to open one’s own production unit.

There are diploma and degree courses being offered by various institutes. The courses include designing or production of leather garments, footwear or accessories and many others. A one-year diploma course may cost between Rs 30,000-50,000. Similarly, a BTech could cost around Rs 3-4 lakh. The fee includes raw material costs, course fee and caution money. As this is a new discipline and an employment-focused course, most of the banks offer attractive education loans to students. Various scholarships too are offered to students on the basis of merit and performance in entrance exam. A Junior Research Fellowship can be earned for further research. Some diploma courses are offered to working professionals and sponsored students wherein the employer firm pays the whole fees.

Job prospects are attractive for those who have excellent designing skills combined with  mental ability and artistic finesse. Moreover, creativity with uniqueness adds value to the skills of the leather designer and he can reach out to clients with such skills. Coming up with fresh ideas, concepts and designs are some key characteristics required in a leather designer. The Indian industry is growing at fast pace and can accommodate any number of professionals.

Leather technologists with their ideas and dexterity to convert ideas in form can bag attractive jobs in leather companies. As new multinationals come to India, the leather industry is poised to become a hi-tech industry and those who are qualified in the requisite technology will get preference.

Jobs ranging from designing footwear and accessories like belts, bags, purses and caps to toys, upholstery, baggage, musical instruments, garment tags, gift items, etc, are legion in various export houses. Leather technologists can get jobs in chemical and engineering industries involved in the manufacture of items such as bags, suitcases, upholstery, footballs and cricket balls, car and aircraft seats, hydraulic seals, gaskets, etc.

Compensation packages in this discipline is highly dependent upon the skills. Most of the companies are in private sector, therefore, the companies pay according to their comfort and availability of human resource or the game of supply and demand. Whereas big multinational companies pay attractive salaries, small companies are frugal. However, situation is expected to change down the years as multinationals are setting up their bases in India. A young leather technologist can expect a starting pay package of Rs 15,000 per month.

Candidates with excellent designing skills can opt for overseas jobs which are in plenty. The USA and UK require leather technologists who can work in reducing pollution level caused by the manufacturing process. Similarly, professionals working as designer for leather accessories have plenty of job options working with numerous products manufacturing firms. Major advantage of working in overseas companies is that candidate gets attractive salaries and high standard of living. The only negative aspect of the career is that dealing with the raw material can be a daunting task.

There are different roles of a leather techologists with different names. They are:

* Working at production unit:  A leather technologist employed here is expected to supervise production line workers. Ensuring the water resistance capacity before the leather is processed completely is another key role of a leather technologist. They study the use of various chemicals in the processing of leather and supervise the processing as per specifications. Processing of skin and Hyde so that leather can be given a shape, treatment of skin, assessment of the thickness, softness, texture, colour, etc, is done by the leather technologist.

* Research and quality control: Leather technologists ensure that proper research and quality control is in place when testing and analysis done in the lab and that for a particular chemical the right dye stuffs and small-scale apparatus are used.

* Marketing and sales professionals: Leather product companies require professionals who have some knowledge of production or quality management in leather accessories in the marketing team as they can be the most suitable person to deal with potential customers or clients. Additionally, these people working in marketing and sales department can have an effective communication with the production department with accurate specifications and requirements or demand.

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