University of Northampton’s Leather Institute at Risk of Closure After Just Four Years

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 23, 2023

person knitting a leather wallet

The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton is at risk of closure, only four years after it opened its doors, primarily due to a decline in students’ interest in the field.

Additionally, another reason why the university is considering shutting down this institution is the economic downturn and the increasing energy prices, BBC reports.

The University of Northampton is internally discussing the issue, and a decision will be made soon.

“The decision to enter into this period of consultation has not been taken lightly, as the academic study of leather at the University of Northampton has been a valued part of our offer since 1995,” University of Northampton Vice-Chancellor Anne-Marie Kilday told BBC.

She said the decrease in the number of British leather producers had led to China, Brazil, Russia, India, and Italy becoming leaders in leather production. That, according to her, has affected the number of local students and did not drive an equivalent increase in international students.

ICLT is a research and education center that was officially opened in 2019. It costs a total of £5.5 million.

In September 2019, with the academic year about to begin, the university officially announced the opening of the new ICLT home at Waterside Campus. The institute provides courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as professional courses.

Upon its opening, the Director of the ICLT, Rachel Garwood, said that the new home is an asset for students and staff at the university, as well as the whole industry.

“These new facilities enhance our teaching, training and research, all of which are crucial in supporting the global leather industry. Our reputation for being a leading global leather institute can now continue to grow, which is something Northampton should be proud of,” Garwood had said.

The University of Northampton has been offering leather-related programs since 1978. Data indicate there have been tanneries in the city that have transformed animal hides into leather for more than 900 years.

The institution is one of the youngest universities in the United Kingdom, according to the university’s website. It received full university status and was granted the power to award research degrees in 2005. The Waterside campus was opened in 2018.

In 2012, the University of Northampton became the first UK university named Changemaker Campus. During the 2021/22 academic year, the university hosted more than 14,000 campus students.

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