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Textile, clothing , leather and footwear industries

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NACE 2002 - 17 Manufacture of textiles
NACE 2002 - 18 Manufacture of wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur
NACE 2002 - 19 Tanning and dressing of leather; manufacture of luggage, handbags, saddlery, harness and footwear

It is likely that the traditionally strong textile, clothing and leather industries have already experienced the worst period. Although the decline in employment in this sector will probably continue, it will not be so significant. The sector is still facing a severe pressure in terms of imports, and its future depends on the capacity to ensure a major increase in labour productivity, which is still insufficient, and on targeting the segment of functional and industrial textiles. The economic crisis will speed up the structural changes, but it should not threaten the sector as a whole. Long-term prospects for the industry need not be negative provided that at least some of the weaknesses that currently lower its competitiveness are eliminated.

Unlike other industries, the textile, clothing and leather industries have a weaker research base, which decreases demand for highly skilled workers and weakens the sector ’s innovation potential in general. Cooperation between enterprises and research institutions in putting research and development results into practice also needs to be strengthened. Other weaknesses include, for example, focus on the manufacturing part of the product chain that has a lower value added and that is the most exposed to the influence of cheaper foreign competition. However, there are marked signs of improvement as regards all these weaknesses.

Training specialised in textile manufacturing has seen a slump in interest on the part of potential students. This currently causes problems for companies when replacing retiring workers.  At present enterprises face an insufficient supply of candidates with vocational certificates and those with upper secondary and tertiary education. The point is that these are the qualifications that form the foundations of future competitiveness. The advantages the Czech textile industry still has in the area of functional textiles, protective garments and technical textiles are not everlasting, and there will have to be a constant progress in product innovation in the industry. The textile and clothing industry has a large potential in the area of nanotechnological applications, and this is something that will have a considerable impact on changes in demand for knowledge and skills. Moreover, there will be a growing demand for workers capable of combing expert knowledge in textiles, technologies and modern machinery (at upper secondary level), and knowledge of customer needs, market trends, logistics and marketing (at upper secondary and tertiary levels).  These are the non-manufacturing activities that are often neglected by Czech companies in many industries. The truth is, however, that they form the foundations of competitiveness for most industrial companies in developed countries.

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