“Print is a truly exciting sector to be in”

“Print is a truly exciting sector to be in”

Our Rising Star Awards help young talent in the sector further their careers with grants of up to £1500 to help fund training for their personal and professional development. We spoke to Samuel Price, Sales Office Manager at Platinum Print, to find out a bit more about his role, the impact his award has had on his skillset, and his plans for the future. 

What does your current role involve day to day? 

I started at Platinum as an estimator in October 2018, where I quickly took to understanding large format print alongside other printing and finishing techniques on both the Litho and Digital side. In late 2019 I was appointed Sales Office Supervisor and I am now in the role of Sales Office Manager. Essentially, this role involves managing a team of estimators who deal with all of the incoming enquiries into our business, order processing, as well as project management.

What did your award allow you to do?

Gaining a Rising Star Award this year allowed me to pursue a course in Personal Leadership Development which has totally changed my perception of how I work and what the most effective ways of working are in a managerial role. 

What skills do you feel that you’ve learnt from taking the course? 

I feel I have strengthened a number of skills but mainly I would say my existing communication, delegation, accountability, time management and people management skills, if I had to name a few! These all play an important part in my role as a manager so I’m really glad the course helped me to develop across the board. 

What differences have you noticed in your work since completing the course?

I feel like I am much better at dealing with difficult situations, conflict and other behaviours alike. I truly believe the course which I completed has helped me to not only be a better member of the team in my organisation, but also a better member of society.

What are your aspirations for the future of your career? 

I feel like I am on a good upward trend at the moment with where my career is going, so I’d say to keep on the direction it is moving in, continuing to progress to the next stage in my career by achieving personal and business milestones.

Do you have any advice for other people looking at print as a career choice? 

Print is a truly exciting and niche sector to be in, a sector where you can create exciting and innovative products using different materials, printing methods and finishing techniques. My advice would be to think outside of the box; look at what can be produced to help your organisation grow to prove you are an integral part of the team, a person who needs to be rewarded for the knowledge you can provide.

If like Sam, you are looking to take your career to the next level, then why not consider applying for a Rising Star Award. Be the first to know when applications open in early spring 2022 by signing up to our newsletter.

“I enjoy every minute of living at Southwood Court”

“I enjoy every minute of living at Southwood Court”

“This is not a place to be missed if you get the opportunity to move in.”

Several of Matthew’s friends recommended Southwood Court to him and his daughter helped him to apply to the charity. His mother and three sisters had worked at Cahill Printers in Dublin so he was eligible through his direct family connection to the print sector.

It was a decision he doesn’t regret and has been a resident since 2018. “This is not a place to be missed if you get the opportunity to move in. It’s been great coming to live here, everything has worked out well. There’s a really nice atmosphere here and everyone gets on. And the staff are brilliant, second to none.”

He feels safe while maintaining his independence and is very happy living in the first-floor apartment he chose. When the weather’s fine, he enjoys the communal garden and conservatory. 

Matthew often joins in with the social activities organised by the staff for residents but says there’s no pressure to do so if he doesn’t want to. 

“It’s lovely to be close to my family, too. My sons and grandchildren are in and out of here all the time. And I still socialise locally, meeting my friends for a pint. It’s all part and parcel of keeping in touch and talking to other people.”

We currently have a number of vacancies at Southwood Court, so if you or anyone you might know is looking to find a place to live independently in their retirement years, contact us to find out more.

Free training resources to boost your career

Free training resources to boost your career

Technologies and processes are constantly evolving. To keep your career on track, extra training is a great way to upskill, build confidence and open new opportunities. 

Some training courses can be pricey, but we believe skills development should be accessible for all. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best resources out there offering great training for a small cost or even for free. Don’t get left behind, find out where upskilling will take you. 

The skills toolkit is a great platform to look for courses that can help strengthen your digital, numeracy, and work-ready skills, whether at a basic level or a refreshment of fundamental things you might already know. 

Linkedin Learning is a great place to look for training. You can sign up for a free one-month trial and access their huge library of courses. There’s something for every interest and sector, ranging from leadership skills to Excel training. Why not use your free month to learn something new? 

Google Digital Garage has a host of online courses that range from campaign management to SEO. They also run a Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course which you can work through at your own pace and get a recognised certificate at the end. 

Alison has some great courses which are all CPD accredited, giving you an interactive learning experience in areas like customer service and health and safety in the workplace. You can choose between shorter certificate courses or more extensive diploma courses, depending on how much time you have.

Futurelearn has many free short courses which can be done in two or three weeks with short weekly study time, to help you learn new skills as well as advance those you may already have. 

If you’re between the ages of 18 to 30 and do think you could benefit from more formal training to enhance your personal and professional development, then consider applying for our Rising Star Awards, with grants of up to £1500 available to cover training costs beyond support from your employer.

Back to work – employment support for turbulent times

Back to work – employment support for turbulent times

September marks the start of the new term for schools and universities across the country but it also brings about the end of the government’s furlough scheme, removing what has been vital support for many households and leaving numerous jobs at risk. Navigating changes at work and in your career can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone.  

Setting up your CV

Updating your CV can make all the difference when looking for a job or promotion. It can be difficult to know where to start, but thankfully there are lots of resources out there to help.  The National Careers Service, which has a handy CV writing guide including information on what to include and tips to help make you stand out as a job candidate. Target Jobs also have a whole range of advice and guidance on getting started with a CV as well as covering letters. 

If you’ve had time off work due to the pandemic, you are not alone in this situation and it’s hoped most employers will be understanding of the challenges caused by lockdowns and the furlough scheme. However, if you are worried about this impacting your CV, Prospects have some useful tips on looking at gaps in your CV. 

Have you thought about apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are a great option to consider when looking at careers in the industry. They will help you learn the skills you need to know to excel in your chosen field on the job, as well as allowing you to earn a wage. You can really take in a lot from the people you are surrounded by who might have years of experience and learn transferable soft skills that will stand you throughout your career.  

There are lots of different levels of apprenticeships so you can find something to suit you, whether you are just starting out in your career or you’ve been in a job for many years and wish to progress where you are in your role. 

The BPIF offer a range of apprenticeship qualifications for roles within the sector, from customer services to operations. 

Support from The Printing Charity 

We know that money worries can occur as a result of changes in the workplace, but we’re here for you. We can offer people short term grants to help them get back on their feet whilst they are looking for further work, just like how we helped Daniel when he was made redundant. Our team look at all applications with a holistic view, so you get the right help – get in touch

Our free, confidential helpline is there to provide practical and emotional support whenever it’s needed. Available Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, our trained information specialists will try and help you find out what you need to make a plan to move forward. You can also talk to our counsellors 24/7 about anything that might be troubling you, including any work related issues or changes at work. 

We also work with outplacement specialists Renovo, who are there to help when people are facing changes in their jobs. They cover a number of things from CV writing, career coaching, and workshops to help people who might be impacted by site closures with practical support. 

The history of our Almshouses

The history of our Almshouses

Almshouses were created as a form of social housing, to help people in need afford a place to live. They are run by charities like ours, who offer support to those in financial need, and often cater for specific communities of people and their families from various trades.

The Printing Charity Almshouses

The very first Almshouse that the charity owned was at Wood Green, and was officially opened on 11th June 1856, although it no longer exists today.

Fast forward to the 1960’s and the next generation of almshouses were being built by the charity. £160,000 was raised and the site in Essex where Southwood Court now resides was purchased. The residences were completed in 1964 and opened by none other than Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The homes in Essex were such a success that a similar set was planned for Bletchley, Milton Keynes, now known as Beaverbrook House.

Beaverbrook House and Southwood Court offer self-contained one bedroom apartments for people in their retirement years, with spacious living rooms and fitted kitchens, a laundry room, well maintained communal gardens and off-street parking.

Take a look at our image gallery to see how our almshouses have changed through the years.

75th Anniversary of The Almshouse Association

2021 marks the 75th Anniversary of The Almshouse Association.

The Association traces its roots back to February 1946 when, at a meeting held in the Chapter House of Southwark Cathedral, representatives of London’s almshouses formed a committee to safeguard the interests of almshouse buildings and the welfare of residents.

The Almshouse Association provide support, information and guidance on a broad range of general and specific issues, to over 1600 independent almshouse charities that provide homes for around 35,000 residents across the United Kingdom.

Over the years their services have extended to include guidance manuals, policy documents and model templates, training seminars, interest-free loans and funding, as well as providing a platform for members to advertise resident vacancies, discuss best practices and share knowledge at local meetings and via a members’ forum.

Their primary function is to offer those running almshouses with guidance and vital updates on policies and standards. They also help to raise the profile of almshouses and the benefits to the local community, offering grants and loans to those charities who need help in creating dwellings. The Association has its own Board of Trustees that is responsible for guiding the charity, developing and overseeing the delivery of the strategy and ensuring that the visions of the founder, set 75 years ago, continue to be delivered today. The Association also has Regional Champions that are  based in different areas of the UK with local knowledge that can offer guidance and support to charities in their region.

Throughout 2021, the Association is raising the awareness of almshouses and their importance in society today. Member charities are also busy holding garden parties in celebration of their wonderful almshouses and The Almshouse Association’s 75th Anniversary.

Both are focusing on championing the movement to ensure the continuance of their almshouses for many generations to come.


There are currently vacancies at both of our wonderful homes in Bletchley and Basildon . If you, or someone you know, is retired and has a connection to the industry, and may be interested in finding a new home, get in touch with us today .