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Shoe repairer

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Makes and repairs boots or shoes.
Alternative names: Cobbler, Footwear Repairer, Shoemaker and repairer
Specialisations: Medical Grade Shoemaker, Orthopaedic Shoe Repairer, Shoe Repairer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A shoe repairer needs:

  • good eyesight, which may be corrected
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • the ability to work quickly and accurately
  • business and customer service skills
  • a good eye for detail
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, shoe repairers, classified under canvas and leather goods makers, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a shoe repairer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a shoe repairer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

​You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship in footwear repair. The traineeship usually takes 12 to 24 months to complete. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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