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MEET THE CRAFTSMEN: DEN WILCOX, LEATHER FACTORY MANAGER

In the latest in our behind-the-scenes series, Den Wilcox talks 007 secrets, job satisfaction and keeping a traditional trade alive.

PHOTOGRAPHY: KENSINGTON LEVERNE

My job is to make sure the factory floor runs smoothly and efficiently and that the right person is doing the right job.

We’ve got five different teams who specialise in different areas. There are different types of jobs as well – you might have a lot of bags or small leather goods going through at once. It’s just trying to group everything together to make it a smooth process. Of course it’s also important to talk to the workers and get their feedback – we’re always looking to make improvements. It brings them in as well; if they know that you’re listening to them and putting their ideas across, it makes them feel more like part of the team. There are lots of different people and characters here, and when you put a team together you have to make sure they all blend and work well together.

I’ve been in this line of work for 25 years.

I just sort of worked my way up through different sections to the point where I was running the factory floor. I’ve always liked working with my hands and in order to do that you need to be in this kind of trade. I used to make furniture, which is very similar in the way it goes through the factory.

This level of craftsmanship is very rare these days.

There are a few colleges and courses you can go on to learn the basics but to get training you’ve really got to find somewhere like Globe-Trotter, where you can learn on the job. It takes years to get to the skill level necessary and it’s one of those kinds of trades where you’re always learning. You can never think you know it all because you don’t; there’s always something new and there are always ways to improve.

Globe-Trotter has got a long history and it’s a really good company to work for because of the reputation we have and the quality that we turn out.

It’s also a good company to work for because it’s good to see the skills that are out there. You can work on a product and see the end result and you get a lot of job satisfaction from that. It’s a skill that’s dying out and it’s interesting to keep it going.

The most memorable project for me was when we worked on the Bond film Skyfall.

We had to make a case that turned into a machine gun, but we also had to make a replica in polystyrene because the real one, which was made from metal, was too heavy for the actor to carry. That was a challenge – but when you put the two together they look the same. Because I was involved from start to finish that made it really interesting, and it’s a nice one to tell your kids you were part of.

I like keeping fit in my spare time.

I go to the gym three times a week and the other two days I go cycling. I like to walk my golden Lab Bex, too. I enjoy doing the garden and holding barbecues, that kind of thing. I’m not one to lay in bed, I like to get up and do something.

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