1. The Pattenmakers Certificate in Bespoke Orthopaedic Footwear
This is a two-year on-line course originated and managed by Bill Bird, one of the most respected practitioners in this area. Currently in its second cycle, it is for working shoemakers wanting to develop and enhance their skills in producing high quality, fit-for-purpose orthopaedic footwear.
Training sessions are held weekly over three terms per year and two in-person weekends. At the end of the course, there is a rigorous assessment of practical work submitted by each student and only on satisfactory completion of this will a Certificate be issued.
The subject matter embraces the anatomy and physiology of the lower limbs and strategies for helping to alleviate the many conditions that can be treated with specifically designed footwear. It also covers the practical skills of assessment, last fitting, pattern making, upper making, and the putting together of functional yet stylish bespoke orthopaedic shoes and boots.
This is a national and internationally recognised qualification – not a government scheme – that has considerable status in the trade. It is supported and funded by the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers, an ancient but active City of London guild, focused on the footwear sector.
2. The Pattenmakers Apprenticeship Scheme
As well as the certificate course, the Pattenmakers also fund an apprenticeship scheme to assist aspiring shoemakers to be employed and trained within shoemaking workshops, under the guidance of highly skilled orthopaedic makers. Over eight people have trained and developed their skills through this programme and it is especially aimed at smaller, independent makers working in this rapidly expanding sector of the footwear industry.
If you would like to learn more about either of these quite separate initiatives,
please contact Mike Watson-Smith at