Tools for success – how software training can shape your career

Tools for success – how software training can shape your career

Taking a certified training course can help you gain valuable knowledge in different software applications while opening the door to new career opportunities. 

Software and equipment can be a vital tool in many career paths, helping you to complete your everyday tasks efficiently and to a good standard. Some job roles will require you to have specific training on certain software, for example Adobe Creative Cloud, which you may not be familiar with, or you may just have an interest to learn more about how the software works. 

Before you set out trying to become an expert on every piece of software possible, it’s important to identify what specific tools you need to learn about in your chosen field. Ask colleagues or a mentor about what they use most, or research the tools used in your dream job role. It’s also a good idea to take a look at the software if possible, or follow an online tutorial to double check it is what you were expecting before finding a training course.

Once you have completed technical training, you may find many new career opportunities are available to you. Sophie Chuter, Rising Star Award winner in 2019, used her grant to fund an Adobe certified Photoshop course. “Part of the work we do in our team is manipulating and colour correcting images for our print campaigns. However, I lacked knowledge and confidence in Photoshop to be able to do this. Completing the course will give me an Adobe Mid-level certification which is a recognised qualification in the industry and one that will help me to progress into more senior roles.”

Amy Elrington used her award to do an Adobe Creative Cloud print workshop as well as a course in SEO. For her, the award was invaluable; “The award gave me the opportunity to develop my practical skills in design and online digital marketing. Not only that, I had the opportunity to meet with the talented judges, who challenged me to answer questions about where I want to go with my career.”

Software training is a brilliant way to invest in your career. If you know what programmes you need to use to progress, apply to the Rising Star Awards before the 7th March.

“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.

Answering your Rising Star Award questions

Answering your Rising Star Award questions

The Rising Star Awards offer grants for training or equipment so young people working in the wider print industry can reach their career goals. For any of those out there who are unsure whether to apply, we’ve answered some typically asked questions here. 

 

Once you are ready, fill out our application form before the 7th March and you could be in with a chance to be named a 2021 Rising Star. 

Still have a question? Please don’t hesitate to contact us on awards@theprintingcharity.org.uk 

What is the criteria for entry?

The Rising Star Awards are open to:

  • Those who have a right to reside in the UK 
  • Those aged 18-30 at the time of your application  
  • Individuals working in the print, paper, publishing, and packaging sectors  
  • Individuals studying for sector-specific qualifications 

Are those that are self employed or currently on an internship eligible? 

Yes! We welcome applications from those who are working in the industry on a temporary or self employed basis (e.g. interns). We will want to hear about your long term career plans and how you intend to progress within the print/paper/publishing/packaging sector. We’ll also want to hear about your journey to where you are now and what other experience and training you have. 

If successful I’d like to put the funding towards a Diploma. I would be making up the remainder of the course fee in conjunction with the Rising Star funding. Is this ok?

Yes! We are happy to receive applications to part fund a qualification, where the remainder of the cost will be made up by either an employer or the applicant.  We would encourage you to explain why this is the right course for you, and describe how you will meet the additional costs.  

Can I apply for funding for a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification, when I work in publishing?

Yes! We encourage all applicants to research the right course for them, whether that’s to improve a core or soft skill. Talking to a manager or mentor about the choice of course so they can validate that it’s the right fit is also a great idea. We’ll be keen to hear why you’ve chosen the course, and how you think it will benefit you in the short and longer term. We recognise that our sector is multi faceted, within which you can be a finance specialist, a marketing specialist, or a project manager, so it’s best to gain a tailored qualification.

Am still eligible for the Rising Star Awards if I apply before I turn 30 this year?

This is an opportunity for those aged 18 to 30. Essentially this means that applicants can not have had their 31st birthday. We stipulate that you should be 30 or below when you apply.

I know a young person who continually impresses me in their commitment to the industry. Can I nominate them for an award?

Successful Rising Stars are awarded grants for training or equipment to help them in their career. If you can think of someone you would nominate, why not talk to them about the skills or training they might need for their career path. You can help them fill out the application form but we ask that all applications come from the individual.

What percentage of applicants are successful in getting an award?

Each application is considered on its own merit, which means that each year, a different percentage of applicants receive a Rising Star Award – typically, this is circa 60%.  

The reason that the majority of applications do not proceed to interview, is because the applicants are asking for something we do not support. Our Frequently Asked Questions detail what we can and can’t help with. 

If you are unsuccessful, so long as you are 29 or under, you can apply again next year.  We will happily give you feedback regarding your application if you request it.  

How long do I have to spend the award money?

We like all award winners to have spent their money on their chosen courses or equipment within a 12 month time frame. This may mean that you plan to undertake a course in November for example, in which we’d just ask you to let us know your intended start date in your application form. 

I’ve completed so much online and free training during the past 12 months, is it worth doing paid-for courses?

We would encourage everyone to boost their personal development, and if this is via free online training, that’s great. However, certified, paid-for training, can often offer a recognisable qualification for your CV and provide best of breed learning. 

Can I use a Rising Star Award for community benefit?

Yes! Where there is a clear and proven community benefit, such as passing on new skills, we are pleased to support community organisations.

A lifeline that saved my career

A lifeline that saved my career

Benjamin Wareing shares how his Rising Stars award meant he could continue his beloved photojournalism even during a pandemic. 

Without The Printing Charity’s support, I can say that my career and livelihood would be vastly different than it is today.

I began my photojournalism career as a teenager, and was one of the youngest photographers of this type in the industry. With just a basic point-zoom camera, it was a humble beginning in every sense of the word!

Once I reached university to study for my Journalism degree, my photojournalism kicked it up a notch significantly, as I could access industry-leading camera equipment. I was lucky enough to photograph the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle and have gone on to photograph almost every member of the Royal Family, three Prime Ministers, almost every politician, breaking news events, and much more.

After finishing university during a global pandemic, I had little funds to pay for the equipment I needed to continue my career. I was missing two crucial lenses that, without, would significantly hamper my ability to photograph – a Nikon 24-70mm and a Nikon 70-200mm, considered two of the ‘holy grail’ lenses in any press photographer’s bag.

They also run up thousands of pounds.  

A life-changing grant

Just as I thought I’d have to put my dream career on hold, I found The Printing Charity’s Rising Star Award (then the Print Futures Awards) offering young creatives like me a chance at crucial funding and support.

I never thought I’d even be considered for a chance, but I made it through to the interview, and after an incredible and passionate talk, was selected as one of the award recipients. This was the lifeline that saved my career, no doubt about it. 

I’ve now been picked up by the National Memorial Arboretum as one of their main events photographers, been head-hunted for possibilities across America and Europe, and have the peace of mind that my photography can come first.

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.

Follow your own career path

Follow your own career path

Rhea Evers was named a Rising Star in 2017, and put her award towards her two-year Conservation MA. Here she talks about the training and experience that got her to where she is today.  

*Image courtesy of The Bluebell Railway

It is certainly possible to embark on a career in conservation from degree-level, however I did not follow a mainstream career path. After graduating with a BA in Illustration in 2011, I volunteered in heritage organisations and galleries such as The William Morris Gallery, The National Maritime Museum and The National Trust to gain experience with collection documentation and preventive conservation.

In 2016 I began an eighteen-month, Heritage Lottery-Funded Book conservation traineeship with PZ Conservation in Cornwall under the supervision of Elizabeth Neville MA ACR. The experiences I had gained as a volunteer and the specialist skills I had begun to learn as a trainee were important for me to be considered for a Master’s degree and qualify for entry. With them I could demonstrate my dedication to the profession and bridge the gap between my undergraduate degree and chosen profession. 

At the time, there were two book conversation courses available in the U.K, there is currently only one. I chose the MA programme at Camberwell College of Arts as it was full-time and included wonderful and valuable placements at conservation studios in London’s cultural institutions. A particular highlight was attending an extended six-week placement at The Bodleian Libraries, Oxford in the summer of 2018, which introduced me to new techniques and treatments via 1:1 tuition with inspiring and generous supervisors. 

In 2019 I achieved my long-term ambition to qualify as a book and paper conservator and graduated with distinction. In the same year I took up the permanent position of Project Conservator – Digitisation and Large Scale Projects at The National Archives. Conservation training in any specialism can take many years so it is a serious commitment of time and money. 

The Printing Charity’s support towards my development also positively impacted the quality of my student experience; allowing me more time with my studies by alleviating pressure to work a second part-time job. Thank you, The Printing Charity – I couldn’t have come this far without a Rising Star Award.

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

An exciting and ever-changing industry to be part of

An exciting and ever-changing industry to be part of

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.