Prize for Germany’s Best Trainee Tanner

  • Tanner – a highly specialized profession for leather production
  • Knowledge of chemistry, biology and machinery essential
Felix Wengenroth, employee of specialty chemicals company LANXESS, will receive the “Förderpreis” from Verein für Gerberei-Chemie und -Technik e.V. (Association for Tannery Chemistry and Technology), in recognition of young scientists and engineers. Wengenroth will be awarded in the field of tannery technology at a conference of the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS) in Dresden, Germany, from June 25 to 28, 2019. He was Germany’s best graduate, scoring 95 out of 100 points in his final exam with the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

At the end of 2017, Wengenroth completed three years of apprenticeship training in the Leather business unit at LANXESS to become a qualified leather manufacturer and tanning technologist. At the same time, he continued his studies in economics and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in February 2017. As a trainee at LANXESS, he is currently not only gaining technical experience but also applying his knowledge from his economics studies to the conditions of the leather markets in the various regions around the world.

Tanning is a highly specialized profession that requires knowledge of chemistry, machinery and also biology. In Germany, approximately 20 young people start an apprenticeship in this trade each year, which covers all stages of leather processing. This also includes handling measurement and analysis devices for the use of chemicals on various types of leather. Dr. Thomas Brackemeyer, who is responsible for the global organic leather chemicals business in the Leather business unit at LANXESS, explained that “The training is a modern technical profession, in which one deals with chemistry as well as with the machines and the characteristics of the animal skin. Leather is a particularly attractive, technically sophisticated and sustainable material. Today, the manufacturing is harmless in terms of toxicology and the environment. Extensive research provides support here, with our tanners playing a central role in this.”

The tasks during the training include the mechanical and manual processing of raw hides and leather, the examination and analysis of the material for quality control as well as the development of tanning agents. In addition, the prospective tanners learn how to roll, dry, coat, impregnate, grease and dye the leather and also document numerous production processes.

At its Leverkusen site, LANXESS has a research and development pilot plant in which some 60 people are employed. It includes a small-scale tannery, where all the different stages of the manufacturing process, from the salted raw cattle hide to the finished leather, can be carried out just like in a full-scale tannery.

Vocational training has always been high priority at LANXESS. Every year, the company offers in-depth vocational training in a wide array of areas to young persons after they have left secondary school. Whether scientists, technologists or businesspeople – the next generation of specialists are provided with all the necessary tools for a career in the chemical industry. A total of 620 young people are currently completing their vocational training at LANXESS in Germany.



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