Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore MP visited the University of Northampton on Thursday (30 January) and received a masterclass in leathercraft.
Northamptonshire is famous around the globe for its heritage and expertise that places it at the heart of a multi-billion pound industry. Mr Skidmore was invited to take a tour of the University’s new Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) which opened last September – carrying on a legacy of leathercraft that first began more than 900 years ago.
The Universities minister – whose responsibilities include widening participation in higher education and ensuring we remain an aspirational location for international study – met several students who had travelled to Northampton from across the world to learn their skills and begin their career in the leather industry.
He then was invited by ICLT research Leader Will Wise and Tannery Manager David Sherwood to try his hand at creating ornamental leather bulls as gifts his children – as well as an extra one for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Following the visit, Mr Skidmore said: “I was hugely impressed with the University of Northampton’s Waterside campus and the students I met at the new institute for the leather industry.
“Their research is taking centuries old traditional craft right up to the cutting-edge of technology, with innovations that will help us remain ahead of the game in manufacturing and grow our status as a global science superpower.”