Rising star, Luke Dray

Rising star, Luke Dray

LUANDA, ANGOLA – JANUARY 29: A lady watches water droplets land on her hands inside the Povoado slum on January 29, 2020 in Luanda, Angola.

Every year, through our Print Futures Awards, we give talented young people grants of up to £1500 to go towards their career development. This year we had 44 very deserving winners with promising careers in the print, publishing, paper, packaging and graphic arts sectors. 

Luke Dray, British photojournalist who specialises in current affairs including stories on development, natural disasters, civil unrest, climate change and the economy in EMEA, was a winner in our Journalism category this year. We spoke to Luke recently after he completed his Hostile Environment and First Aid Training about life as a freelancer.

How did you get into the industry?

I was (and even more so now) very interested in current affairs, I wanted to be where the action was. The only way I could do that before ‘becoming a journalist’ was to photograph protests. My boss at the camera shop I was working in was very accommodating, letting me take days off to do my work. Working at the camera shop also gave me good discounts on second-hand gear, and everything I earned went back into photography.    

What appealed to you about the industry you are in?

I want my work to highlight things that can be avoided, and if not avoided, fixed. It would be nice to help make the world a better place, and I think we as journalists can, but I have realised that this doesn’t happen very easily. I also love the idea of seeing things first hand, and being where the action is. 

What does your role involve?

As a freelancer my role involves keeping multiple plates spinning at the same time. Be it finding interesting stories and gaining access to them, reacting to breaking news or making connections. It’s hard to switch off, and to be honest I don’t think I like switching off – at our age we need to work twice as hard as everybody else to get ahead of the pack.

What is your award going to allow you to do?

The Print Futures Award allowed me to get Hostile Environment and First Aid Training, which everybody working in potentially dangerous environments should have. It’s a course that gives you in-depth training on more serious first aid (such as ballistic trauma) and runs through other potential risks you have when working in hostile places. This means organisations can send me on more difficult stories where there is higher risk.

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

How quickly you learn not to let anything surprise you, because everything in recent years seems more amplified than the last.

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

Work twice as hard as everybody else. If an editor rings you up for the first time, don’t dither, just say yes! Work out the logistics later, and don’t under any circumstances mess up.

Where do you turn for support in your career?

Mentors. People are (overall) very nice and want to help young people.

Do you have anyone that you look up to in the industry?

You have all the famous faces in photography, but I like the ones who don’t shout: Finbarr O’Reilly, Dan Kitwood, Hannah McKay, Spencer Platt and Peter Macdiarmid are some of the people I admire.

What are your aspirations for the future of your career?

I really want to be a staffer for one of the wires, but that’s not gonna happen any time soon! 

The 2020 Print Futures Awards are now closed. You can see all of our winners here and find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.

Rising Star, Sanna Zahoor

Rising Star, Sanna Zahoor

Our support in championing rising stars spans across a range of industries in the sector, from packaging to paper. We love finding out more about the roles our award winners are excelling in to demonstrate the wealth of career paths the sector has to offer.  

Sanna Zahoor, Associate Publisher at Emerald Publishing and 2019 Print Futures Award winner spoke to us about how she joined the publishing industry and her top tips for other young people looking to get into the sector.  

How did you get into the industry? 

I actually got into Publishing by accident. I have a degree in English, and a Masters in Management. I was unsure about the career path I wanted to pursue but during my Masters, Marketing was the module I enjoyed most. I applied for graduate marketing roles and ended up in the Brand team at Emerald Publishing. I loved working there but was covering a maternity contract, so when a permanent role in the Publishing department came up, I went for it! I’ve been working in Publishing for about 4 years now and really love it.

What appeals to you about the industry you are in? 

What I love the most about working in Academic Publishing starts first and foremost with the people. I enjoy speaking with researchers who are experts in their field and extremely passionate about their work – it’s really inspiring. At Emerald Publishing, our priority is to publish research that makes an impact in the real world and I love being involved in that. More recently, I have been commissioning and publishing research on the impacts of COVID-19, which has been interesting and rewarding.

What does your role involve? 

As an Associate Publisher, I manage journals and books across the areas of Education, Sociology, Public Policy and Criminology. Some of the components of my job include:

  •   Commissioning content for journals and books by engaging with author and editor communities
  •   Building a pipeline of content through commissioning and having strong editor relationships
  •   Attending conferences to keep abreast of what research is being published and inviting new authors and editorial stakeholders to publish with us.
  •   Staying on top of market trends within my subject areas, e.g what are the hot topics in a certain area

What is your award going to allow you to do?

Thanks to my Print Futures award, I’ve been able to attend a course run by The Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), which was extremely helpful. It was a strategic journal development course run by two executive publishers from Nature and Oxford University Press. I gained numerous insights about ways to improve author acquisition, understanding benchmarks for journal success, what makes a journal commercially viable, and how to build a journal strategy around this. 

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

Some of the surprises about working in the publishing industry have been the sense of community and the importance of building strong relationships with stakeholders. Communication is a big part of this and takes place by email, telephone/video calls and face-to-face when travelling to industry events and conferences (pre-COVID!) I didn’t realise how much travelling I’d get to do and have been lucky enough to travel to Texas, Ohio, Toronto and Amsterdam!

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

There are so many great resources online and I would really recommend following relevant Twitter accounts to gain industry insights and opportunities. More specifically, I recommend subscribing to and following The Publishing Post, an online magazine packed with resources and information about Publishing, including the latest job opportunities, industry interviews and generally everything you’d want to know about Publishing, all in one place. 

Society of Young Publishers and Society of Young Publishers (North) are also great resources and I’d really recommend following their social media platforms to keep an eye out for  events and initiatives they’re running and jobs being advertised. 

Where do you turn for support in your career? 

I’m very lucky at Emerald Publishing that there is a genuine interest and investment in our career and personal development. The Learning and Development team offers lots of training courses as well as a mentoring scheme. I have a mentor and find this a really useful way of staying focused and being accountable for my development, while also gaining advice from someone with a lot of experience. If you are able to find a mentor, I’d really recommend it. 

What are your aspirations for the future of your career? 

Over the past four years, my career trajectory has taken me from being a Publishing Assistant to Associate Publisher. My next goal is to become a Publisher. I am currently focusing on further developing my strategic/commissioning skills so that I can publish excellent research and hopefully help make a positive impact in society.

If you’re 18-30 and looking to develop your skills for career progression, our Print Futures Awards could be for you. Awards are closed for 2020 but find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.

Inside the world of papermaking

Inside the world of papermaking

Paper is one of the most widely used products in our sector, and outside of our sector, something that touches most of our lives everyday.

There are many different kinds of paper and endless uses for it. Even more so, there are numerous processes that take place to create the final product. But how much do we really know about papermaking and it’s potential opportunities? We spoke to Brandon Hartley about his role as Windermans Assistant at Iggesund Paperboard, to help give us an insight into what it’s like to join the industry and work hands on in a papermill. 

How did you get into the industry?

After completing high school, I decided to change school to focus my studies around science and engineering. I’ve always enjoyed understanding how things work and the reasoning behind it; so this felt like the most strategic move. This is where I was first made aware of papermaking and the print industry. During my final year of sixth form, a local mills representative gave a short lecture on the history of the local mill and the papermaking industry. Despite living in the area, it wasn’t a job opportunity I’d ever heard of. We spoke about how widely their products are used and the different areas within the mill, which further piqued my interest. At this time, they were offering a brand new trailblazing opportunity; the papermaking apprenticeship. Everything I discovered made me think this is the industry for me, so I decided to apply. An interview later and I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of the two available positions.

What appealed to you about the industry you are in?

Paper manufacturing appealed to me due to its intricacies and complexities, as well as being one of the largest industries in the world. Getting involved in paper meant I could travel worldwide while working, which is always a bonus. The complexity of paper and board manufacturing was the real selling point. Insight on how paper and board is made and the many different mills, products, and processes used satisfied my ever inquisitive mind. There’s always something new to learn and understand, as well as new to face challenges each day.  

What does your role involve? 

My current role as a “Windermans assistant”  involves overseeing the transition of a singular large jumbo/parent reel (a reel straight from the board machine) into multiple smaller reels at a specific size requested by the customer. Clear and consistent information and communication is required between the team and I to ensure smooth operations. My role also involves understanding safety standards and regulations of the different procedures and equipment.

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

The main surprise to me was the amount of engineering and science that goes into the production of paper and board. Prior to working in the industry, I’d never given much thought to where my paper and packaging had come from. In reality, I thought a tree was put into a machine, a button was pressed and out popped paper on the other side – naïve, I know! Since working in the industry, I’ve been blown away by the manpower and machinery that goes into creating paper. I also never realised how many large and well known brands outsourced paperboard and paper for packaging. I’d just assumed it was made in-house, but there are hundreds of big names that rely on our mills. To this day, I’m amazed at skill that goes into creating the humble paper we use on a daily basis.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

During my apprenticeship, I had the pleasure of being educated by Dr Steve Mann. Over the course of many weeks, Dr Mann gave lectures on the science behind papermaking, the key chemicals and machinery involved, and the importance of production in quality boards. It was inspiring to see someone so invested in the industry, taking pride in his work and the industry itself. He took the time to ensure myself and the other apprentices were correctly prepared. Dr Mann is a fountain of knowledge, who successfully advises paper and board mills around the world, whilst owning and running his own chemical company supplying various mills across the globe. No problem was too much and his passion for science and the industry was inspiring. I hope one day I too can help teach others the same way.

If you want to discover more resources and information about the papermaking industry, visit CPI. 

Anna’s story

Anna’s story

“The Printing Charity has been a lifeline”.

Anna discovered The Printing Charity when an injury stopped her from doing her job, working as a freelance photographer in the print and media sector. With her savings quickly running out, Anna found The Printing Charity online after a Jobcentre adviser suggested it might be worth her looking for an occupational charity that could help.

She feels very lucky her local council provided her with accommodation but as the brand new apartment did not come with any appliances, we helped her buy white goods and essentials such as a bed and sofa. Anna’s grant also recently paid for fitted carpet, which has warmed the bare concrete floors and transformed the apartment into a cosy home.

“It’s very difficult to ask for help when you’ve always looked after yourself,” says Anna, “but the people at The Printing Charity have been amazing to deal with. They’re so caring and thoughtful.”

While she gradually recovers from her injury and looks for freelance work in a sector she loves, our financial assistance makes the difference between being able to survive or not.

“I had no idea there were organisations like The Printing Charity until I couldn’t work,” she says. “The Printing Charity isn’t a faceless organisation; it has a heart and it’s important that people know it’s there to help.”

If you or someone you know might need our help, contact us on support@theprintingcharity.org.uk or call our team on 01293 542820.

Rising star, Sam Wallis

Rising star, Sam Wallis

Sam Wallis, photographer and digital artist based in the northwest of England, has a passion for surreal digital manipulations.

His latest project, Questionable Inedible, creates a visual link between mass produced, polymer-based sports equipment and the food that we farm and consume. With evidence that micro-plastics are entering the food chain, he asks the viewer to question the role in which society plays in the health of future generations. Sam’s series combines photography with stock and appropriated images whilst utilising Photoshop. You can see more images from his project here.

Sam was a winner of our Print Futures Awards in 2017. We caught up with him about his photography degree and career aspirations after recently graduating with first class honours. 

How did you get into the industry?

I’d say I’m still trying! I would consider myself a professional and have had some decent success but I’m always striving for more. I assisted some international photographers whilst studying for my degree, but my aim is to be known as a photographer and digital artist in my own right.

What appealed to you about the industry you are in?

I love to be creative with my photography and I see photo manipulation as a way of taking images that one step further. You only need basic camera skills to take your average photo but mastering the process and creating something unique with post-processing is what really appeals to me.

What does your role involve?

I recently graduated at Ba(Hons) level and I’m about to start my Masters in Photography. In my brief downtime, I’ve been working on some personal project ideas and taking on the occasional freelance photography job.

What is your award going to allow you to do?

I actually won my Print Futures Award back in 2017 and it allowed me to buy some professional lighting and other camera equipment. This set me up really well for starting my degree because it meant I didn’t need to beg and borrow from the College or my peers. It also meant I could work on my lighting techniques in my own time.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of networking with anyone in the arts sector, you never know what will come of it!”

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

I’d probably say the cliched lines of ‘If at first you don’t succeed try again’ and ‘it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know’. You have to be able to take failure well and see it as a learning curve but keep a focus and confidence in what you do whilst trying to improve. As for the second cliché, I can’t stress enough the importance of networking with anyone in the arts sector, you never know what will come of it! Lastly, get entering the Print Future Awards. I never thought I stood a chance but going through the whole process gave me more confidence in talking about and presenting my work…the grant was a pleasant bonus!

Where do you turn for support in my career?

In my personal life, it would be my Fiancé Lucie Duckworth (soon to be Wallis). She pushed me to enter the Print Futures Awards and also apply for University. Since then I have built up a fantastic network of international photographers who are approachable and quick to reply with their advice and I can’t ask for more than that.

Do you have anyone you look up to in the industry?

I love visual creators who combine photography with excellent retouch skills such as Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. He’s probably my biggest inspiration but other notable names include Chris Labrooy and Jonathan Beer. I can’t leave out Mandy Barker either, she does some groundbreaking environmental work with her camera.

What are your aspirations for the future of your career?

I hope to keep improving and building on my work whilst completing my masters. I’d love to get to a point where I produce work for some big brands and have the opportunity to turn some down. Whether this will happen remains to be seen, but I will keep trying. 

The 2020 Print Futures Awards are now closed. You can find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.

Do Young People think Print has a Future?

Do Young People think Print has a Future?

As part of the IPIA’s #Punchbackprint virtual event, we heard three of our Print Futures Awards winners discuss what they think about the future of print.

 

George Rumball, Hamza Loonat, and Jessie Sullivan, joined Richard Pepper, founder of Funky Pigeon and Lucy Swanston, Managing Director of Nutshell Creative to give their first hand thoughts on what it’s like to be working in the industry, and why young people should be considering the sector for their careers.

Jessie Sullivan, Head of Marketing at publishers Head of Zeus, opened the conversation outlining her path into the world of publishing and how print in the industry isn’t just ‘physical books but also printed communications’. 

Highlighting the trend for beautifully designed book covers and limited edition prints, she says “There will always be a demand for good storytelling, whatever format this is in and I think that print does serve its purpose there, and always will…It’s our job as people within the industry to recognise that need and serve it”.

George got into the industry with help from his aunt at age 16, and was ‘instantly hooked’. He hasn’t looked back since and has now bought into the corporate franchise, Kall Kwik, in the city of London. 

His advice to young people entering the industry? “There are so many different types of roles you can do in the sector. On the production side there are roles in estimating, production to sales – all of those skills can be transferable to different areas.”

Jessie believes it’s up to the industry to educate young people about the diversity of careers available in the print sector, “There is a lot more that we could be doing to teach people what the print industry is, how you can get into it, what it involves. There’s so many different areas of it, production, sales, marketing, editorial and for me it’s about educating on that.”

Hamza puts starting his career in print down to luck. He was looking at alternatives to University after his A Levels and took on an apprenticeship at Paragon Customer Communications

He was lucky enough to spend his apprenticeship rotating around the industry and gaining insight from people who’d been in the industry for 10 years plus. This experience allowed him to see first hand the breadth of opportunities in the sector.

Hamza knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of good print communications. “You’ve all heard ‘print is a dying industry’ which I don’t agree with at all,” says Hamza. “The market might change and fluctuate but the demand for print will always be there. I think the physical aspect is more appealing to most people… purely for the physical experience of touching the pages, the texture, and how it engages the senses.

Hamza continues, “people are still investing in technology and new finishing machines, which shows that the industry isn’t going anywhere”. 

George agrees that print is here to stay. “Technology is always moving. There’s always new machinery coming out, new stuff to learn. That’s what excites me the most about it.”

If you’re aged between 18 and 30 and want to develop your career in the print, publishing, packaging, paper or graphic arts, you may be eligible for a Print Futures Awards. Find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.