Footwear, shoe repair, leather producing and leathergoods companies have been playing a major part in the National Training Organisation's push to get new National Occupational Standards approved. These standards underpin all training provision at operator level and, for the first time, job roles are now being reflected in the new standards.

"Operatives should be able to recognise their job role outlined in the opening paragraph of the standards," said Wendi Reid, the project co-ordinator for footwear. "We have tried to look at the standards from an employer's point of view to ensure they are able to recognise and value the qualifications that are developed in the near future."

Proposed qualifications structure
Subject to the approval by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the following qualifications structure should be available in 2001.
  • Core and option qualifications at level 1 for basic operations within the industry
  • Core and option qualifications at level 2 for more complex processes
  • Core and option qualifications at level 3 for utilities, supervisors and technicians
  • Foundation and modern apprenticeship frameworks

    Relevant guidance and promotional material from awarding bodies and FLNTO, the national training organisation for the footwear, leather, shoe repair and leathergoods industries, will support the launch of the new qualification structure.

    European Social Fund leads to increased footwear qualifications
    One hundred footwear employees benefitted from company involvement with FLNTO and the European Social Fund, in delivering training opportunities for the footwear industry in the North West of England.

    The COLTRAIN project provided up to 45 per cent of the cost of training for recognised qualifications. With European support, FLNTO and partners in the region, were able to deliver a range of training opportunities including Health and Safety, operator training, management development and administration courses.

    FLNTO plans further projects in the North West and South West of England and Southern Scotland, and is currently seeking partners to promote and deliver training opportunities within the footwear, leather and shoe repair industry.
    FLNTO Ltd can be contacted on +44 (0)1933 270313.

    From Peter Embling, Shoestyle