News & Views

Keeping leather products up to scratch

How laboratory skills play a critical role in manufacturing

Jennifer Macfarlane

Age: 30
Occupation: deputy laboratory manager, Bridge of Weir (leather manufacturer)
Location: Paisley 

Long interested in science, Jennifer Macfarlane studied forensic analysis at university with a view to joining the police force. But she changed course after her mother, a warehouse manager at a manufacturing company, suggested she also consider industrial jobs. 

Following this advice, Jennifer joined Bridge of Weir in 2010 as a laboratory technician. The company is a big maker of leather products with a large factory near Paisley in western Scotland. It supplies seat covers and other interior parts to upmarket carmakers such as Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Jennifer’s job involves testing leather samples for conditions such as colour-fastness and resilience. She also has to devise new ways to check that Bridge of Weir’s products meet the technical specifications set by its customers.  

“I love working with leather – it’s a natural, beautiful product,” she says. “When I read about the Aston Martin cars used in James Bond films, it’s a thrill to think that I’ve played a part in making them.”