Posted: 3rd August 2022 | Back to news feed


Jobs that require working with leather can be diverse, ranging from saddle, bridle and harness making to shoemaking in the fashion industry.

The British leather industry is growing at an exponential rate. In 2017, it had an estimated annual growth of £195 million and an estimated turnover of £1.14 billion. However, there is a shortage of workers with the technical skills needed for practical roles.

In this post, we will explore three reasons why a career working with leather goods can help the UK adapt and maintain its reputation for innovation and excellence.


Reason one: Leather production in the UK has a global reputation for excellence

According to the UK Leather Federation, the UK’s leather industry has an estimated annual turnover of £195 million. The industry employs approximately 8,400 workers, with 1,300 in leather manufacturing, 2,600 in leather goods manufacturing, 4,300 in footwear manufacturing and 200 in apparel manufacturing. On average, a person has at least four leather items on them at any one time. This usually includes everyday items such as belts, wallets, shoes and watchstraps.

The British leather industry is successful because of the quality of the leather it produces. Globally recognised brands such as Nike, Mulberry and Burberry are associated with quality leather products and they rely on British leather in order to continue producing these products.


Reason two: There is a shortage of workers with the technical skills needed for practical roles

The success of the British saddlery and leatherwork industries relies on the superior quality and innovation of the items produced, and this in turn relies on highly skilled and experienced staff. This begins with education providers such as Capel Manor College, where students can learn the skills needed to launch a successful career in the leather industries.


Reason three: Saddlery is an ancient trade that is vital to the UK economy and must be protected

Saddlery is an ancient trade that dates back as far as Anglo-Saxon times. British saddlery has a global reputation for excellence, with handmade leather goods such as harnesses, bridles and saddles in high demand. Due to the high demand, equine industries contribute £700 million annually to the UK economy, with 1.8 million regular riders and 841,000 horses in Britain, creating many opportunities for work. 


Study a Saddlery or Shoemaking Course in London at Capel Manor College

We offer a variety of full and part-time saddlery and shoemaking courses at our Enfield Campus.

The Princess Royal College of Animal Management and Saddlery, London was established in 2016 and is the only college in Europe to offer the prestigious and historic Worshipful Cordwainers’ Diploma in Saddle, Harness and Bridle Making, as well as the Cordwainers’ Diploma in Shoemaking.

Taught through practical demonstrations and hands-on workshops, our expert tutors can teach you the skills you need for a career working within the leather industries.

Find out more at our upcoming Advice Day, register now.

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