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Cobblers are people who make and mend shoes and boots by replacing worn soles and heels by either sewing or gluing on the new pieces. The leather for new shoes is moulded over a last, an anvil-like structure shaped like a foot. They also stitch buckles to shoes and boots using special twine and an awl, which is a large thick needle, or a powerful sewing machine.

Sometimes cobblers are required to sew sequins or other paraphernalia onto shoes, takkies or boots. These days glue often replaces stitching, as the results are the same, if not as long lasting. Suede, leather, leather-like material, canvas and cardboard are some of the materials used by cobblers to 'cobble' footwear.

Satisfying Aspects
- seeing a piece of footwear remodelled and improved
- liaising with customers
- meeting new people daily

Demanding aspects
- working long hours
- possible eyestrain

- enjoy working with your hands
- accurate and methodical
- able to communicate with all kinds of people
- self-motivated
- an eye for detail
- friendly and helpful
- manual dexterity
- good eyesight

School Subjects
Grade 8

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: None

In-service training is offered by experienced operators / instructors. The general factory worker does not undergo in-service training, but the learner operators are subjected to in-service training over a period of four years.

Footwear Correspondence courses are available through the Leather Industries Research Institute (LIRI) only if employed within a footwear factory due to the practical assignments that are necessary.

- shoe repairing shops
- dry-cleaners
- self-employment

Leather Industries Research Institute
University of Pretoria

The Training Officer
National Union of Leather and Allied Workers
P O Box 59088
Umbilo, 4075
Tel. (031) 206-0105/ Fax: (031) 206 0109