Best in class: the TFL Academy1 August 2013
Opened in 2000, the TFL Academy is geared towards training both long-serving and aspiring members of the industry, providing relevant, hands-on experience across an array of processes and emerging technologies.
There is little dispute surrounding the importance of training both the current and future workforce. In an international, hyper competitive market, skilled personnel are essential, especially in high-cost economies such as Europe.
Despite the international reputation of Europe's schools and dedicated university departments, however, leather specific education and training is in a state of flux. The increased strength of fast growing economies, geographical dispersion, language barriers and a move away from manufacturing in traditional markets have all contributed to dwindling numbers of skilled workers entering the industry.
The education of future generations is certainly important to TFL and the company has made significant investments in supporting local and international training institutes.
A good example of these efforts is the long established relationship between TFL and the University of Northampton's Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT), who have now been working together for more than twelve years. As recently as last May, 18 students from the University joined some students from the Italian High School for Tanning Technology, ITIS G Galilei, at TFL's site in Montebello for a four day workshop.
The workshop included theoretical and practical leather applications and several presentations on TFL proprietary systems, followed by practical application in the labs with a special focus on the ecological aspects involved in the leather manufacturing process.
The TFL Academy is committed to continuing such training in order to support the education of future generations of leather technicians, technologists and scientists. In 2000, the company founded their own technical training centre to train and bring TFL staff up to date with the latest chemical developments and application technologies. From the beginning the TFL Academy also offered tailored courses for customers and specific trainings on hot topics for the industry.
The TFL Academy is located in Montebello Vicentino, Italy, close to the leather district of Arzignano, one of the biggest and most advanced tannery zone clusters of the world. Thanks to the importance TFL gives education and the prime location of the academy, it is always up-to-date with state of the art machinery and the latest technologies available on the market.
In 2012 the TFL Academy expanded its activities, opening a new branch at TFL Castelfranco in Tuscany, where the leather field is more focused on fashion articles for leather goods and shoe upper leathers. In these modern premises the simulation of real industrial processes is feasible.
The TFL Academy is an important integrated part for technical and commercial education of the TFL sales people, as well as in the promotion of TFL products, systems and articles to colleagues and dealers. However, the TFL Academy is not only operating for the internal organisation, it is also beneficial for customers, students and specifiers as an ideal place to host special events and tailor-made courses.
Every year TFL hosts training courses for young students, supporting the industry's long term future. Over the years, the TFL Academy has become a real reference point for the education and specialisation of both the present and the future generations of leather technicians.