A European Union project for promoting information technology skills among people who work in the textile, clothing, leather and footwear (TCLF) industries came to a close on February 8 at a special conference in Brussels. The Digital TCLF Industries project began in January 2017.
Its main achievement has been to identify the jobs most affected by the demand for new skills in the workforce by examining where the most important skills gaps are likely to be by 2025. In the case of leather, the job most companies that engaged with the project highlighted was that of professional leather technologist.
This is one of the areas affected by the digital skills gap because of the advanced technology now integrated into tanning machinery. As well as great knowledge of how to make leather, technologists now need the digital skills that will allow them to use that technology to maximum effect.
At the Brussels event, the secretary general of COTANCE, the leather industry’s representative body in the European Union, Gustavo González-Quijano, said money is available to help leather technologists learn these skills. All companies have to do, he said, is set up a formal project to bring these skills into their organisations and the financial help can be theirs.
The European Commission is in the process of agreeing its budgets for the next few years and the sum under consideration to help workers (across all sectors) advance in learning digital skills is €700 million.