We spoke to Hamza Loonat, 2017 Rising Star Award winner, about how he got into print and why he enjoys the industry so much.

How did you start your career in print?

I started my career in print from a degree apprenticeship which has given me the opportunity to learn about the industry literally from the ground up. Having been able to shadow every single department involved in the print process, I’ve been able to learn from peers and clients who have been in the industry for a long time. The experience is invaluable for someone of my age, and I’ve been able to build a good network and knowledge of the print industry as a result. 

Why do you feel print is a great sector for young people to join? 

Print is a growing industry and there’s big investment into new technologies meaning it will continue to evolve and be exciting for future generations. Print in general is a lot more complex and detail oriented than just pressing ink into paper, and I firmly believe that there’s a wealth of knowledge and skills to gain by working within the print industry.  

There is also a wealth of knowledge and life lessons that you can learn from your peers. Once you gain the knowledge and transferable skills relevant to the print industry there will always be a new opportunity for you to explore. 

How has being named a Rising Star in 2017 helped you?

The Rising Star award gave me a financial boost that allowed me to pursue some professional qualifications outside of work, and also helped me to get my first car upon passing my driving test so that I could commute to work a lot faster. It gave me a good deal of publicity that has since allowed me to grow my network and connect with mentors in the industry.  

The Printing Charity is doing a great job of maintaining an active presence online and raising awareness about the print industry to younger audiences. They host some great forums online with a network of other award winners and young people working in print and print-related industries. This is great for sharing ideas, asking for career or even personal advice, and just general networking through common interests.  

What career advice would you tell yourself three years ago? 

One piece of advice I would give to myself three years ago is to stay patient. Nothing worth having comes easy, and it won’t always come quick either. Take the time early on to build a solid foundation of knowledge, ask questions, and connect with as many colleagues/peers as possible. Stick to this and the experience and rewards will come in due time!  

Are you a Rising Star, or know someone that is? Fill in this application form and return it to us before 7 March 2021.