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Developing skills in the UK footwear industry

Emphasising the UK’s pool of footwear expertise, two skilled technologists have completed an intensive training programme with flying colours. Penny Fevola of Topshop and Matt Kirton of SATRA have both received the highly prestigious SATRA Accredited Footwear Technologist (SAFT) award after completing their training.

The internationally-recognised SAFT award covers five key areas of footwear: lasts and fitting, materials and constructions, laboratory test procedures, product design, performance and risk assessment, and quality assurance/supplier auditing. Each module is assessed by an examination and a pass in all five subjects is required to gain SAFT accreditation.

Penny is a footwear and accessories technologist for Topshop in London and is the third member of her team to take part in the scheme. Notably, she achieved distinctions for all the modules covered. Penny is already witnessing the benefits that the SAFT programme has provided her with, saying: “I feel more confident when talking to suppliers and more assured when making decisions at work,” and adding that she found the materials and construction module the most beneficial to her area of work.

Matt Kirton and Penny Fevola receiving their SAFT awards from SATRA Chief Executive, Austin Simmons (centre)

Matt Kirton has worked at SATRA for more than eight years and has completed the SAFT award over the past year and a half. He recently gained a promotion from deputy laboratory supervisor to footwear technologist, partly due to achieving the SAFT award. “I’ve gained a lot of in-depth knowledge and the SAFT award is a great base to build on,” he said. “There is still a lot more for me to learn from the high-level of expertise that SATRA has gained over 92 years.”

Penny and Matt received their awards from SATRA Chief Executive, Austin Simmons, who highly commended the pair on achieving such high marks in a very challenging scheme. “Matt and Penny were at a slight disadvantage, as they were not from a traditional manufacturing background,” he said, “but it is great to see them achieve so highly in such a valuable qualification. There has been a lot of talk surrounding footwear engineering and its return to the UK, so this award is a great way of demonstrating how SATRA still teaches traditional manufacturing skills and how we are helping people employed in the UK industry understand the importance of footwear technology.’

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 4 of the July/August 2011 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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