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Leather is my Job!

COTANCE and industriAll European Trade Union kick-start their joint project “Leather is my Job!”

On 13 December 2013, COTANCE hosted the kick-off meeting of “Leather is my Job!”, a project jointly developed with industriAll European Trade Union for promoting the Leather-Tanning Sector as an  attractive choice for young people and job-seekers. This initiative of the sector’s social partners has the support of the EU Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs.

For many companies in Europe’s tanning sector it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit qualified people in spite of the current high level of unemployment. For too long other sectors have appeared more attractive to young people, diverting attention from more traditional sectors such as the leather industry. Europe’s leather sector believes, however, that a reversal of this trend is underway, with an increasing interest by young people in manual work and craftsmanship, design, authenticity of natural materials, and more environment-friendly  industries. The tanning industry offers all that; it recovers and recycles a residue of the meat industry and transforms it into leather, one of the world’s most prestigious and highly demanded materials.

“Leather is my Job!” involves the sector’s social partners in 7+1 Member States (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Romania and Bulgaria + Italy), supplying sectors including fashion, automotive, aviation and footwear, and has a dual objective: it aims at identifying best practices for improving the offer of qualified labour in Europe’s leather industry in two regional conferences, and at promoting the many and varied jobs and career opportunities that companies in this sector have to offer through the testimonials of people at their workplace.

This joint initiative of the European social partners in the leather sector is an addition to the various activities they undertake together in related areas, such as skills and competences (EU TCL Sector Skills Council), labour market mobility (ESCO) and qualifications, education and training (future Sector Skills Alliance project).

At the Kick-Off Meeting the project partners reviewed the planning of activities in this one-year initiative that will end with a European Conference in Italy in conjunction with a major sectoral event.

European tanneries and workers wishing to play an active part are welcome to contact the Secretariats of COTANCE or industriAll Europe.

This project is a further proof of the fact that the Leather-Tanning Sector’s Social Dialogue can be fruitfully used as a supporting instrument for both sides of the industry in their efforts to promote more and always better jobs.

Brussels, 13 December 2013