Shoe repairers mend and maintain footwear, and increasingly other accessories such as belts and bags. Jobs include replacing worn soles and heels, as well as carrying out more complicated tasks such as renewing stitching and welts or building up heels and soles. They also clean, polish, dye or stain shoes, and replace accessories such as buckles, laces, zips and straps.
The repairs are carried out at a workbench, using specialist tools and machinery. Shoe repairersmaintain their own equipment, sharpening cutting tools and regularly servicing machinery. Most shoe repairers are based in high street shops, where other services such as key cutting, watch repair and engraving are offered.
Dealing with payments from customers may be part of the job; and if self employed, repairers will be responsible for keeping their own accounts.
Most shoe repairers work a 40-hour week, including Saturdays. It is possible to work part-time.
The job involves a great deal of standing, working with machinery and hand tools. The job can be dusty, dirty and noisy, and work can involve dealing with fumes from strong adhesives. All shoe repairers wear protective clothing.
As a shoe repairer, you should:
There are around 8,000 shoe repairers in the UK, mostly working in small companies. More and more repair outlets are based in national companies or larger retail chains, department stores or shoe retailers.
There are a few opportunities to work in high quality shoe-making factories, dealing with shoes returned for repair.
Once experienced, many shoe repairers set up their own business.
National organisations have a promotion structure that allows you to progress to assistant manager and shop manager before moving on to area or regional manager.
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