“Learning new skills gives you the confidence to try new things”

“Learning new skills gives you the confidence to try new things”

Ryan Rooney is Production & Packing Manager, iKan Papercrafts. Ryan loves his job, and thanks to his recent Rising Stars award, he was able to add even more skills under his career belt. We talked to Ryan about his award as well as his advice for others thinking of joining the sector. 

What did your Rising Star award allow you to do? 

My award allowed me to do two courses with the Knowledge Academy, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Prince2 Project Management (Foundation & Practitioner). I completed these online over a period of two weeks running concurrently and found them to be delivered well with excellent trainers. 

Do you feel more confident in your role after receiving an award?

Learning new skills certainly helps you trust that you are doing things the right way and gives you the confidence in your convictions to try new things and push into new areas.  I also feel confident in sharing my learnings with other members of the business.

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

I have thoroughly enjoyed working in the print industry, which I have now been in for ten years. There really is a role for everyone, from manufacturing to design, estimating and sales and more! It’s great to work with different people and personalities, and I’m forever in awe of designers who come up with the concepts that my side of the operation turns into a reality.

From an overall perspective of advice, I would say that print is becoming more digital every year. Being computer savvy is certainly something that has helped me in my career so far, so I would recommend you people think about their digital skills. 

My other advice would be to learn everything you can and embrace every opportunity. You will learn what you enjoy, what you excel at and what you don’t like, and all of this can help guide your focus. I came into print at 16 years old and at that stage didn’t know what I wanted to do going forward, but from embracing opportunities I found what makes me tick. 

It’s a fast paced and exciting industry with new innovations always around the corner and it’s fascinating to watch this ever changing landscape.

Would you recommend the course to other Rising Star applicants?

I would certainly recommend both courses I undertook to other applicants, in both cases the skills are transferable across different areas of a business from Customer Service, Production / Operations, Studio, Purchasing and more. I have personally seen a lot of benefit and enjoyed undertaking the courses, they were both well delivered, and the trainers were brilliant at keeping me engaged throughout.

What are your aspirations for the future of your career?

I am extremely driven in the sense that I want to learn more all the time and expand my own skill sets and knowledge. I am currently completing a Level 5 in Leadership and Management with the BPIF and plan on continuing my education both at work through mentorship and learning from others and through formal training qualifications. 

I am passionate about Production and Operations Management and aspire to be an Operations Director, helping business succeed through my leadership and building teams, developing people, and helping them excel in their roles. I feel it’s a privilege to be able to help, guide and train new talent coming into the industry, and I would like to put myself in a position where I can help to do that.

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Being recognised in the Rising Star Awards is a real confidence booster

Being recognised in the Rising Star Awards is a real confidence booster

Tom Maskill was named a Rising Star in 2021. Having been mentored by the Webmart Director as a teenager, Tom is now Head of Sales and Marketing at the print company. We caught up with him to find out how his award has helped him in his new role. 

What did your Rising Star award allow you to do?

With the Rising Star Award, I enrolled on a PRINCE2 Practitioner course. PRINCE2 is a project management methodology used across many different industries and countries. Completing the course has enabled me to better manage internal projects and homogenise our project management practices internally. 

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

I can now execute projects of any size using a project management language which is common among many global organisations. Hopefully this will allow me to take on larger and more complex projects involving cross-department collaboration.

Do you feel more confident in your role after receiving an award?

I feel much more confident. Instead of relying solely on past experience and intuition for developing processes and delivering projects, I now have a bank of tools and frameworks I can use. Being recognised in the Rising Star Awards is also a real confidence booster!

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

Overall, a more structured approach to project management. Even smaller projects involving just one or two people have become more efficient and easier to manage as a result of the course.

Would you recommend the course to other Rising Star applicants?

Yes! One of the benefits of the PRINCE2 courses is the flexibility. You can either do it part time over a year or a full time intensive week. The methodology is applicable to projects of all size and type, which allows it to benefit people in all kinds of roles. 

What are your aspirations for the future of your career?

I hope to be a leader in the industry and continue to modernise the industry to a more technology driven and sustainable one.

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

Print is a lot more than just traditional leaflets, catalogues and booklets. There are challenges in automation, production, logistics, marketing, innovation and more to work on. Whilst print is a ‘traditional’ industry, there is a significant pace of change which keeps this space engaging and rewarding.

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“You’re always there for me if I need help”

“You’re always there for me if I need help”

Five years ago, Maria had to reduce her working hours for health reasons and ended up in debt.

She got in touch with Citizens Advice and was referred to the financial advice charity, Turn2Us, which suggested The Printing Charity may be able to help her. Maria thought the charity only helped printers so was amazed that her print experience counted. 

“You’ve made such a difference to my life, helping with everyday expenses and money to buy a bed and washing machine,” she says. “I really appreciate the Christmas payment, too, which helps with my heating bills.”

Maria was introduced to the world of print by her parents, who both worked for national newspapers. In 1970, aged 16, she started work at the Daily Express as a junior secretary earning £9 10 shillings and sixpence a week. Encouraged by her manager to develop her skills, her next role was in display advertising checking proofs at the Evening Standard. 

After a break from the sector, she worked for Woman’s Own, a women’s consumer magazine. Starting as the magazine’s agony aunt’s secretary, she was promoted to the fashion page, answering readers’ fashion questions, a job she loved.  

“But magazines didn’t pay very well, so I took a job at The Sun as the secretary to the classified advertising manager,” she recalls, “but I got caught up in the 1986 Wapping dispute and was out of work for 13 ½ months. I’ve had some great times in print, though, going to fashion shows for the press at Harrods and socialising in Fleet Street’s well-known haunts like the Printer’s Pie and King & Keys.” 

We are proud to be able to support people just like Maria. If you or someone you know who is connected to our industry is struggling, we’re here to help. Contact our Welfare Team on 01293 542820 or email support@theprintingcharity.org.uk 

“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.

“There’s lots of people who want to see and help you succeed”

“There’s lots of people who want to see and help you succeed”

Rising Star winner Eilidh Reid tells us how she got into publishing and the support available for those looking to get into the industry. 

How did you get into the industry? 

I first became interested in publishing while at university when I worked at Waterstones and eventually took responsibility for the Children’s department. Then, I got accepted for a role as a Publishing Assistant in the Oxford University Press’ Academic Journals division. I really enjoyed the role, however, I knew that I wanted to work in Children’s educational publishing since working at Waterstones, and I’m excited to say I am! I’m now working as a Marketing Administrator in the Educational division of Oxford University Press, providing support across our Primary, Secondary and Trade resources.

What does your role involve? 

My role is really varied – I’m involved in various team projects, such as coordinating the creation of our Secondary catalogues, and liaising with various media sources to set up advertising. I provide copywriting assistance, manage publicity mailings to our reviewers, create press releases for our publications, and create and send out e-newsletters to our reviewers and customers. I’m also responsible for a small portfolio of my own marketing campaigns for middle grade and picture books. I do a lot of website maintenance in order to improve OUP’s accessibility and customer experience on the site. I also am the key contact for our award submissions and review coverage. Like I said, it’s very varied – busy but interesting!

What is your award going to allow you to do? 

I used my Rising Stars award to enrol on the Level 4 CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing. The certificate will provide me with planning and strategy knowledge when it comes to developing successful and engaging marketing campaigns, and to better understand my audience. My hope is that the combination of my current role and the CIM qualification will allow me to take the next step towards managing a larger portfolio of marketing campaigns, and to be more involved in the strategic decision making aspect.

What has surprised you most about the industry you work in?  

I think going into publishing I wasn’t expecting there to be such a large focus on agility and digital innovation. I especially love seeing reading and learning become more and more accessible to children – particularly after the year we’ve had with the pandemic when that aspiration became very much something we needed to fully realise in a short amount of time. 

What would you advise other young people looking to get into the same sector? 

I’d probably advise patience above all else – I and many others have found publishing really competitive. However once you’ve got your foot in the door, you will find a lot of people who want to see and help you succeed. 

The second piece of advice I would give is to be active on Twitter. The publishing network on Twitter is really willing to help and provide guidance, and there are so many resources available if you’re looking to break into the industry. If you’re in that position, I’m always happy to help – I have compiled a list of resources I’ve used and have heard about, as well as some creative ways to make yourself employable without completing one of the big Publishing internships. My Twitter handle is @lttln, feel free to contact me and I’ll send these over!

What are your aspirations for the future of your career? 

All I really want is to be a cheerleader for children, and the way I want to do this is through increasing their access to reading and learning resources, promoting a love of literature, and ultimately helping them realise their full potential. I’m really flexible when it comes to the way in which I make that impact, but what’s important that I’m in a position to do so!

Are you a Rising Star, or know someone that is? To apply, complete our application form and return it to us before 7 March 2021.