The French botterie and the feminization of the profession


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The boot remains one of the “guardians of the temple” of excellence in French craftsmanship. The 13th Leather Meetings, organized by the CNC (National Leather Council) last November, showcased this profession which is characterized by increasing feminization and varied training courses.

Among leather craftsmen, 70 percent are women and 30 percent are men, according to the Observatory of Fashion Textile and Leather Trades. However, this distribution varies according to the trades exercised. Thus, while women represent 80 percent of the workforce in leather goods, men are predominantly present in upstream trades: raw hides and skins, tannery and tannery. Two thirds are men and one third are women in this sector.

The ankle boot is a special case because feminization began later than the other sectors, only appearing in 2004: the year when the apprenticeship program was opened to women. A salutary decision for the profession itself, which today enjoys total parity and gives rise to many female retraining. Like that of Audrey Benguerine, former IT project manager, who shared her experience during the event: after three years of evening classes, she decided to take her CAP as a shoemaker as an independent candidate, then joined Maison Corthay in as an embroiderer.

Another “spectacular” conversion is that of Laura Puntillo, partner of master shoemaker Philippe Atienza. An anthropologist and designer by training, his revelation came during an exhibition dedicated to Maurice Arnoult. She then joined the Maurice Arnoult association to train as a shoemaker. Laura Puntillo has come full circle since she is now a trainer within the association and devotes herself to the creation of shoes for women.

A wide range of training

The Compagnons du Devoir represent 80 per cent of the students trained at the CAP bootmaker level. From CAP to Bac Pro, including the Tour de France, it is the benchmark training organization for the shoemaker’s profession. However, other less well-known training courses in training centers offer specialties in “shoes”. Specialization then takes place in a workshop, during internships or work-study courses. The National Society of the Best Craftsmen of France (SNMOF) has been organizing for ten years a competition for apprentices: the MAF (Meilleur Apprenti de France). This competition is not a diploma, unlike the title “One of the Best Craftsmen of France”, which is recognized by the National Education. Finally, for those over 25, several continuing training courses are offered by AFPA, Pôle Emploi and the Leather Technical Center.

“We are present at a large number of training fairs. We very often meet profiles of former executives and employees, and mainly women, who wish to retrain in our professions in search of meaning and manual creation ”, declared Frank Boehly, president of the National Leather Council during this meeting. daytime.

In order to strengthen the attractiveness of its employer brand, the National Chamber of Bootmakers produced the film “The French boot from know-how to innovation” to present and promote the shoe industry. Committed, the CSNB is also at the initiative of the “Shoes for Life” operation with several partners, including the National Leather Council. This raffle for research and the fight against cancer will be officially launched on February 4, 2022. The winners will receive a pair of custom shoes. The leather craft industry is experiencing a real craze. Supported by luxury brands and the influence of French know-how, these sectors of activity represent a breeding ground for jobs, with a high level of know-how. How? ‘Or’ What.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR, translated and edited in English by Kelly Press.

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