Leather is my Job! partners launch a Photo-Contest and prepare for the Final Conference on 8 June in Igualada
On 23 February 2017, COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union met in Lineapelle to review the progress of the Leather is my Job! project with their partners. That morning, the LIMJ! partnership was invited to attend the “Amici per la Pelle” event organised by the Italian leather industry and Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano had the opportunity to address the 1100 students, promote the appeal to work in the leather industry and present the LIMJ! initiative.
Representatives from UKLF (United Kingdom), VDL (Germany), FFTM (France), APIC (Portugal), BDSZ (Hungary), UGT-FICA (Spain), FILCTEM-CGIL (Italy), as well as UNIC that adhered to the initiative, took stock of the many national activities developed to promote the leather sector as an attractive employer to young people. These include dedicated printed material presenting testimonies of people working in the industry and explaining education, training and career opportunities, open-days organised at tanneries, visits to schools or attendance to job fairs. These activities are regularly reported on on the project website and facebook page (see hereunder) with links to downloadable material that can be used as promotional tools for both sides of industry to attract young people into the world of leather.
At their meeting in Lineapelle, the LIMJ! project partners decided to launch a European Photo Contest depicting “people at work” in tanneries and showing the appeal of working with leather. The EU project partners will award the two best pictures with a symbolic monetary prize. A 3rd Prize will be awarded to the picture most liked by the public. This is an invitation for transnational interaction between people sharing the same affinities at work. All winners will be invited to attend the Final Project Conference in Igualada on 8 June 2017. The details of the contest can be found on the LIMJ! website or can be obtained from the national leather trade sssociations in the umbrella of COTANCE.
This second “Leather is my Job!” initiative will conclude its activities by mid-May and present them all in a Final Conference that will take place in Igualada, the reknown Catalan leather cluster. ACEXPIEL, the Spanish leather trade association, offered hosting the European leather community on June 8 for a day of review and discussions on and around leather, its image and the jobs that it offers now and in the future.
COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union look forward to increased interest in the leather industry as a source of wealth and jobs for the communities where it is established and to more interaction between the cities and regions supporting its development.
Brussels, February 2017
Project social media: https://www.facebook.com/leather.is.my.job/
Project website: http://euroleather.com/index.php/leather-is-my-job
COTANCE mourns the loss of another great man of leather science
Ken Alexander (27 October 1943 - 23 January 2017)
Dr K T W (Ken) Alexander (BSc, MSc, PhD) was a member of GERIC, the European Grouping of Leather Technology Centres, who gave a dynamic turn to this body by starting a long list of EU funded R&D projects that yielded many benefits to the European tanning industry and equipped it notably with the technologies serving sustainability. Ken Alexander was a highly appreciated President of GERIC.
Dr Alexander received his PhD in Biochemistry from Southampton University on the topic of cholesterol biosynthesis. After finishing his PhD, he worked at the Medical Research Council Lipid Metabolism Unit at Hammersmith Hospital, then for University of Utah and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Canberra.
Ken’s main career in leather started when he joined the then British Leather Manufacturers’ Research Association (BLMRA) in January 1980 as a specialist researcher in protein science. He was appointed Assistant Director, Technical, of the British Leather Confederation in 1985, became Technical Director in July 1990 and Chief Executive of BLC in 1992.
He remained as Chief Executive until his retirement in early 2006. During his time at BLC, Ken also served terms as President of SLTC and of the international body, IULTCS; this included the organisation of a very successful international congress in London
As well as being an internationally recognised scientist, Ken applied his incisive mind and immense energy to his role as Chief Executive and he played a very important role in leading the modernisation of BLC during the 1990s.
He leaves behind his two sons, his beloved granddaughter, Ishani, and his sister, Lindsay.
Launch of the Digital TCLF 2025 project to provide the Textile, Clothing, Leather & Footwear sectors with the appropriate skills and competencies to face the digitization of the value chains
COTANCE, representing the European Leather Industry, is one of the three sectors taking part in a multiannual ERASMUS+ KA2 project Digital TCLF 2025 (EU Textile, Clothing, Leather & Footwear (TCLF) Skills Council: analysis of emerging occupations in a digital environment). The project is coordinated by EURATEX.
The five project partners (COTANCE, EURATEX, European Shoe Confederation, industriAll-Europe and Spin360) held their launch meeting in EURATEX premises in Brussels in January 2017.
The objective of the project is to address the need to provide these (TCLF) sectors with the appropriate skills and competencies to embrace the digitization of the EU value chains. It is a follow-up initiative furthering the EU TCLF Skills Council set up by the Social Partners of the three sectors.
Moreover, improving the skills of the leather sector’s human resources and focusing notably on preparing the sector’s SMEs to the digital economy is one of the challenges identified in the Social Dialogue project “A Future for European Leather!” finalized in 2016 and thus part of the COTANCE priorities in the Action Plan towards 2025.
Digital TCLF 2025 will focus on: forecasting future impact of these occupations in terms of European employment and strategic development of the TCLF sectors and their SMEs; identifying gaps between the current Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers offer for the emerging occupations; drafting innovative VET & Training Programs, together with competent and relevant stakeholders, selected based on their possible involvement in future exploitation activities.
The work will be complemented by the development of skills recognition within the sectors and the definition of a roadmap for Digital Skills development in the TCLF sectors inclusive of exploitation strategies and training provision, whether it be VET-based or using other education and training activities tailored for the SMEs, their workers and being attractive to the young generations.
Project Acronym: Digital TCLF 2025
Project Title: EU Textile, Clothing, Leather & Footwear (TCLF) Skills Council: analysis of emerging occupations in a digital environment
Project Reference: 575850-EPP-1-2016-1-BE-EPPKA2-SSA
Project Duration: 24 months from 01.12.2016 – 30.11.2018
1. EURATEX (coordinator), Belgium – Textiles & Clothing
2. CEC, Belgium - Footwear
3. COTANCE, Belgium - Leather
4. IndustriAll Europe, Belgium – European Trade Union
5. SPIN360, Italy
Dr Josep Adzet passes away
On December 7, Dr. Josep Maria Adzet Adzet, former Director of the Tanning School of Igualada (Spain), and long time collaborator with COTANCE and GERIC, received the last goodbye from his family and friends in the "Sagrada Familia" Church in Igualada.
Dr Adzet combined his professional career between education & training and business responsibilities in the leather industry. He was in charge of the scientific management of the Spanish leather technology centre AIICA (Research Association of the Tanning and Ancillary Industries) and developed leather science and research contributing to more sustainable processes for the tanning sector.
Dr Adzet published many books, manuals and articles in specialized magazines on the treatment of hides & skins and the implementation of clean technologies in the industry. His work is recognized throughout the sector. In Spain and South America many tanners respectfully remember the Professor who taught them everything about tanning.
We lose an outstanding leather scientist and educator.
COTANCE offers its condoleances to his family and relatives.
In Freiberg, COTANCE Assembly General unanimously elects Thomas Bee as new COTANCE President
Last 14 June, the Assembly General of COTANCE took place in Freiberg, Germany, upon the invitation of the Verband der Deutschen Lederindustrie and on the occasion of the 5th Freiberger Ledertage that were opened the next day.
Delegates from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Romania and, for the first time, Austria attended the meeting at FILK, the German leather research institute.
As 2016 marked the year of the renewal of its Presidency, Mr Jonathan Muirhead, who chaired the Association for two years, stepped down with a few words summarising his challenging, but highly sucessful mandate. In particular, he pointed out that the association had become stronger with the addition of two new members (FV TBSL/ BG LE, Austria and Scan-hide, Denmark). He also mentioned the major successes achieved during his term, such as the development of PEFCR for leather.
Mr Muirhead also emphasized areas where COTANCE had been working hard, in particular the area of leather labelling and in trade reciprocity. He also said that more emphasis was still needed on the defense of the image of leather and in education & training.
Finally he wished his sucesssor all the best for his mandate.
The new COTANCE Presidency is as follows:
- Mr Thomas Bee (VDL, Schafstall Holding GmbH & Co. KG): President for the 2016-2018 mandate.
- Mr Hugues Pichon (FFTM, Tanneries Roux): Vice-President.
- Mr Jonathan Muirhead (UKLF, Scottish Leather Group): Vice-President, past President
- Mr Rino Mastrotto (UNIC, Rino Mastrotto Group) is elected as incoming Vice-President.
In his inaugural speech, Mr Thomas Bee thanked his predecessor for his dedication during the last two years and thanked all members for the trust put in him for the forthcoming mandate.
COTANCE will meet again in Council in November 2016 in Brussels.
The future for European leather debated at the European Economic and Social Committee
The Conference concluding the Social Dialogue project of COTANCE and industriAll “A future for European leather!” took place on February 2, 2016, in the European Economic and Social Committee, the official soundboard of civil society in the EU. In support of the sector, its Consultative Commission for Industrial Change (the French acronym is CCMI) granted its « partnership » to the EU-sponsored initiative, as a first signal for further cooperation with the sector’s Social Partners on the challenges and opportunities identified in their joint Manifesto.
The Committee is aware that tanneries are confronted to he same well-known difficulties as all European SMEs, but that they also have specific needs and it's time the Committee takes stock of their objectives and specific concerns.
I hope that progress can be made on specific issues, such as the identification of genuine leather on the market, or fair methodologies to calculate the envrionmental footprint of hides and skins, the industry's raw materials.
60 public and private stakeholders of the leather/tanning sector attended the one-day event in Brussels that was opened and jointly chaired by Mrs Lucie Studničná, President of CCMI and Mr Jonathan Muirhead (Scottish Leather Group), President of COTANCE. In addition to national employers associations and trade unions, partners in the project, guests included high-level representatives of big brands, the chemical industry, sector education and training centres, lobbies of value chain partners, the press, as well as members of the CCMI and various Commission services directly involved in policy areas of key interest to the leather industry.
Luc Triangle (industriAll) and Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano (COTANCE), the sector’s EU Social Partners, officially presented their “Manifesto”. The 4-page document summarises the conclusions of the thematic seminars held throughout 2015 on industry matters (Bucharest, 24 April), social/societal affairs (Paris, 19 June), trade issues (Alcanena, 27 October) and environmental matters (Glasgow, 10 December). It thereby articulates the sector’s main concerns into clear objectives to be reached for ensuring growth and jobs in the European leather sector.
The morning session concluded with two keynote speakers : Mike Redwood and Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs further depicted the challenges ahead for the European leather industry, but also its values and strengths.
It is important to know where the sectors wants to stand in ten years time!
The Manifesto is only the beginning. All stakeholders will hopefully continue to cooperate to face up to the identified challenges with initiatives that could be laid down in a ten-year action plan.
Leather should not carry the weight of atmospheric emissions that are blamed on livestock.
We understand that it is important for the leather sector to promote both the orign and authenticity labelling, which allows the industry to differentiate itself.
The afternoon was dedicated to a panel debate where the issues raised in the Manifesto received an initial feedback from Commission services and allied sector representatives. High-level officers from DG Grow (Mr Carlo Corazza), DG Trade (Mr Luc Devigne) and DG Employment (Sigried Caspar), from the EESC (Mrs Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs), Euratex (Mr Francesco Marchi) and sector experts (Federico Brugnoli) made up the Panel. The various statements, comments and remarks of the panellists showed that the Juncker Commission and the respective EU Commissioners in charge of industry, trade and employment have rolled out a number of policy measures that could be exploited to achieve the key objectives of the Social Partners.
EU rules for describing genuine leather are also necessary to protect the consumer.
DG Employment takes note of the needs expressed in the manifesto and invites the social partners to identify clear action points on which they want to work.
The leather industry's trade issues related to raw materials are on the Commission's agenda.
The textile/leather/footwear sectors are ahead of the others with their EU Sector Skills Council.
The Commission's PEF initiative constitutes a great opportunity for European tanners to set appropriate product category rules for leather.
It was a day of intensive exchanges and networking that all participants welcomed.
The Conference concluded with a call for further developing the Manifesto into a fully-fledged action plan with timetables, listing concrete initiatives and identifying the public and private stakeholders willing to contribute to their realisation.
Link to the on-line publication by industriAll-European trade union:
Brussels, 4 February 2016
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