BFA Foundation Course in Footwear Technology

The decline of the UK’s shoe manufacturing base has resulted in a serious skills shortage of experienced and knowledgeable technologists.

In conjunction with the industry and various training organizations, the BFA has created the BFA Foundation Course in Footwear Technology, an industry-led technical training syllabus aimed primarily at newcomers to footwear who wish to embark on a technical career path.

We have also found that trainees from other functions- Buying, Merchandising, Design and Supply chain – have profited from specific modules to give them a good grounding in footwear making.

Above: Graduates of the full Foundation Course from Clarks International, 2013

Since the courses conception in 2011 over 70 trainees have completed the course which has received very positive feedback from the trade and press.

Here are some comments from people who have completed the course:

“Since taking part in this course my job has changed from product development to sales. I am amazed at how I can now describe the features and benefits of a product looking at it for the first time, often in more depth than the descriptions provided.” – Chatham Marine

“This course has been an excellent introduction into the footwear business. I now feel much more knowledgable when talking about shoemaking and it has helped me feel more confident when dealing with our factories.” – Product Development Coordinator, Fitflop

“I’m  aiming to become a qualified footwear technician and this course has given me a very good basic understanding of the entire footwear manufacturing process.”

And an employer says:

‘This course ensures adequate provision of knowledge pitched at the right levels for both manufacturers and the importing/sourcing companies and should help take the footwear industry forward.”


The ten module course covers subject areas such as Lasts and Fitting through to Shoe Manufacturing, including Corporate Social Responsibility, Quality Systems and Environmental issues. One of the most popular modules has proved to be a factory visit to one of the six manufacturers who have opened their doors for the BFA.

The British Footwear Association has enlisted accredited external Training Providers for each module and has arranged favorable rates for using them. There will also be situations where the companies are able to provide the appropriate training facilities in-house.

Candidates fulfilling the requirements of the ten module syllabus will not only gain a broad understanding of the main technical requirements of shoe manufacture, but will be contribute to the growth and prosperity of their employer. Those passing the course will be presented with the BFA Foundation Certificate in Footwear Technology.


The 2014 course has been deferred whilst the BFA consults with industry about changes in format and possibly content of the course to make sure it is still relevant to the needs of the industry. As soon as the new version is agreed, we will post details on the website.

Please contact us on the contact page or phone 01933229005 to obtain further information.