Inspiration for a greener tanning industry from the Arzignano tanning district.

Working in the tannery, an exciting undertaking

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“Working in the tannery can be an exciting undertaking for several reasons” Giancarlo Dani, president of Conceria Dani, underlines in the second of the interviews conducted on the subject of school, training and employment in the leather supply chain.

greenLIFE What are the most requested professional profiles today? Will they be the same after 2–3 years?

Giancarlo Dani. Over the last few years, the growing importance of the automotive sector for our company has directed our recruiting towards profiles that combine technical and management skills (e.g. management engineers). This has combined together with the need to expand the number of high-profile technical figures, such as graduates in chemistry or in chemical engineering. However, technical people who arrive in the company well-trained in the tanning sector and the prospective new ITS course graduates are still very important. As compared to the present situation, there will be a greater demand for marketing experts and people highly-skilled in staff organization, project management, and sustainability in the years to come. This will be along with the research for blue collars who want to learn to work in increasingly structured industries, very far from the commonplace ones that see the tannery as an unhealthy industry.

gL What personal and professional characteristics are you looking for in new employees?

GD. Good basic preparation, willingness to get one’s hands dirty, ability to work in a team, and willingness to update and expand their knowledge are the qualities that we are looking for.

gL How do you work with the ITIS Galilei?

GD. We collaborate in cycles of seminars on topics, such as sustainability report, new production technologies, Life Cycle Assessment, etc. We have involved the ITIS in several research and training projects, some of which are funded by the EU and the Veneto Region, during which we have organized communication events together. We host students from the ITIS for internships that are planned for school and work-related projects.

gL Which universities are you collaborating with? What is it like to collaborate with the universities?

GD. We collaborate mainly with the Universities of Padua and the University of Venice. We are now looking for collaboration opportunities with other universities in Italy as well as in other countries. The collaboration would involve research on tanning processes and on socio-economic topics. We also host young people who are composing their degree thesis on specific aspects of our sector.

gL Are schools and universities a strategic channel in your human research and recruiting processes?

GD. We have various recruiting channels, both formal and informal. Schools and universities are our strategic recruiting channels. Above all, we are able to get to know people in depth through internships and, therefore, understand if there can be a mutual interest in a collaborative relationship.

gL Why should a young person choose your company? What is interesting about your company, and how do you nurture the talents?

GD. Generalising this sector, I would like to say that working in the tannery can be an exciting undertaking for several reasons, because of the following reasons:

  • It helps create a beautiful product; when I take people to visit my tannery, I always tell them to keep in mind what a rawhide looks like, and then observe the various stages of production evolution, which eventually results in the hide becoming a unique product.
  • There is an extreme variety of situations that one must deal with on a daily basis in all areas – purchasing, production, sales, research; So, one is always occupied with new challenges.
  • There is the possibility of contributing to the development of a sector, which is, up to this day, backward in some ways with regard to the adoption of methodologies and tools. Therefore, there is a need for in-depth skills.

gL What piece of advice would you give a young person who wants to work in your sector?

GD. The desire to learn and the willingness to engage fully; to be open to all the challenges that are coming from outside and to be available to listen and learn gradually, since many aspects of our work have a level of craftsmanship that can be handed over only with time and experience.

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