On a saddler apprenticeship you’ll help make and repair horse saddles.
The saddlery industry promotes excellence in traditional artisan skills while also embracing innovation and technology. The custom saddler is a significant player in the saddlery industry. You’ll manufacture saddles or bridles and provide saddle and equestrian equipment maintenance.
You’ll learn how to cut and produce a standard or customised product for a horse to a certain design or size. Because many of the processes are done by hand, you will get practical skills in equestrian products manufacturing, such as measurement and pattern development.
The skills needed include a wide variety of knowledge, including craft, technical, artistic, and design understanding. These are critical skills that must be applied with great precision, to high standards, and within reasonable time constraints.
What you’ll learn
On a saddler apprenticeship, you’ll learn to:
- Choose, use, maintain, and store equipment and supplies in a safe way, such as appropriate pattern storage, sharpening tools, purchasing materials, and stock management.
- Identify and minimise risks and dangers in the workplace by using safe working practises.
- Keep meticulous records for the manufacture and upkeep of saddlery.
- Discuss and provide advise on the best kind of bridle / saddle leather for a certain use.
- Work as a team member for a business.
- Give great customer service.
- Establish a productive work environment, develop and maintain excellent communication skills with all company workers.
- Organize the procurement of materials and inventory management.
- Prepare the materials and fittings for the bridle and saddle.
- Take responsibility for the completed bridle’s and appropriateness.
- Follow clear instructions from relevant colleagues in order to meet the requirements of clients.
- Follow and maintain work practises to ensure that safety requirements are met.
- Implement efficient and effective resource, time, and material management.
- Maintain a high degree of workmanship to satisfy commercial demands.
- Identify and utilise the right materials and fittings.
- Identify faults in the leather and the fittings.
- Prepare the supplies and fixtures.
- Determine the best threads to use for hand and machine stitching on a range of saddlery products.
- Create a cutting list based on the horse’s proportions, including both cut and made-up measurements, the amount of leather and fittings required, and the relevant designs.
- Assemble your materials in preparation for sewing.
- Assemble the finished product.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks on a saddler apprenticeship could be to:
- Measure and cut leather pieces based on a design.
- Design clothing, coverings, or accessories
- Prepare leather, employ chemicals.
- Sew leather pieces by hand or machine.
- Stain, wax, and polish products
- If you work by yourself, market your business and manage administrative responsibilities.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
The End Point Assessment consists of three distinct assessment methods:
- Written paper
- Practical skills test
- Professional presentation and discussion
You might work at a factory, a store, or from home.
It is possible that you may be required to wear protective equipment.
Career path and progression
You may work your way up to supervisory level or specialise in an area such as leather pattern design, sales, or marketing.
You may also establish your own business or work in the leather manufacturing and finishing industry.
Duration: 24 months
Relevant school subjects: Art and DT
Entry requirements: 12 months of practical experience and skills in cutting, preparation and finishing leather products as well as being able to double hand and single/back stitch
Achievement upon completion: Level 3 (Advanced)—equivalent to A-levels
Potential salary upon completion: £25,000 per annum
More information about the Level 3 Saddler Apprenticeship standard can be found here.
Apprenticeship End Point Assessment
For more information about the End Point Assessment Process, please read the Institute of Apprenticeships’ information page.