What they do
Shoe repairers mend footwear and leather goods. Most damage can be repaired, though it is not always economical to do so, so they will discuss the repairs required with the customer and provide a quote before beginning work. Shoe repairers may glue or nail new soles or heels onto shoes; replace straps, buckles and zips; patch and stitch tears and holes; or polish, dye or re-colour items. Most shoe repairers also offer key-cutting and engraving services, with more keys cut in Western Australia by shoe repairers than by locksmiths. Shoe repairers typically work in small retail stores and are often self-employed. In these cases they will also be responsible for business management tasks, such as managing finances and hiring additional staff.
Shoe repairers usually work in small stores or kiosks in shopping centres, located throughout Western Australia. They may spend long periods standing at a work bench or counter, though this will depend on the particular set up of a store. Some of the adhesives and polishes used in shoe repairs can release toxic fumes. Most shoe repairers will work standard retail opening hours, which includes one late night trading per week and working on Saturdays.
There are many opportunities for self-employment in this occupation.
Tools and technologies
Shoe repairers use adhesives and nails to attach soles and heels to shoes. They may use machines for stitching work, or they may do this by hand, particularly for small pieces or in difficult to reach places. They also use finishing machines for a number of processes including, trimming, scouring, roughing and polishing. Most shoe repairers will also use key cutting and engraving equipment, and stock a wide range of blank keys for a variety of different lock types and sizes. They will also use cash registers, EFTPOS and credit card machines and may use computers and accounting software for business management purposes if they are self-employed.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a shoe repairer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
You can also undertake a traineeship in footwear repair (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.