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At The Printing Charity, we believe in promoting development, encouraging people to create their career path in our sector and boosting their skills and experience along the way. It is for this reason that we invest in projects that meet these aims, most prominently our own Rising Star Awards which offer young people aged 18-30 the opportunity to gain up to £1500 to invest in training and development to propel them forwards.
An alternative method of achieving training and development we are also keen to champion, is that of undertaking an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are great for both employer and employee and benefits include:
While non levy-paying employers can access a largely discounted price for apprenticeship training, there is still a cost associated, which can remain a barrier to access. As we emerge from the challenges that the pandemic has brought our industry, it is easy to understand why funds cannot be diverted into additional training and development opportunities.
It was therefore with great enthusiasm I heard of Paragon Customer Communications (PCC) new initiative. As part of the Paragon Ignite apprenticeship scheme, PCC will transfer a proportion of their apprenticeship levy to enable more small businesses to offer apprenticeships. This will make them both affordable and attainable.
If you are a small business in the printing sector and feel you could benefit from hiring a new apprentice, or offering this to your existing workforce, you can start the application process with Paragon today, to see if they can pay the apprenticeship training charge on your behalf.
Value of apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to improve skills, gain qualifications and progress careers. As part of our mission to nurture young talent in the industry, we actively support apprenticeships and are proud to have been involved with this recent development.
Level 2 is Assistant level and plays an important role in our industry as it is often the first stage of a career in print. This new Level 2 print standard has three options; pre-press operative, press operative and post-press operative. With this approval and the existing Level 3 Print Technician standard, there now exists a solid training programme in place for young people hoping for a long and successful career.
James Buffoni, MD at Ryedale Group Ltd and consortium chair, said “Approval of the Level 2 Standard brings recognition, structure and opportunity to the engine-room of the industry. This signifies that Print Operatives have key skills to offer the UK economy and ensures that print apprenticeships in the UK rival the best in the world.”
We hope that having our official standards will encourage more people to take on an apprenticeship and become leaders of tomorrow. We understand the process wasn’t easy so a big well done to everyone involved.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and it’s great that this is more widely recognised. Since Covid-19 I feel we have all become more self-aware of our own mental health and of the mental health of those around us.
One of the most difficult parts of my role is hearing about people’s challenges and how they are struggling as a result. However, like the rest of the team, it is rewarding to hear from people that our support has made a difference to their lives. We try to provide people with the tools to help themselves and, if appropriate, encourage them to get back into work, even if it is to a different industry, and give some financial support while they do this. This is because working and establishing a routine make people feel valued which has a huge impact on wellbeing.
There is a range of ways the Printing Charity supports people. We have grants for white goods such as fridges and cookers, or for furniture such as a new bed or sofa. We can give short-term financial support, to help someone with their living expenses while they recover from illness or while seeking employment. During COVID-19 we introduced a new emergency grant which releases funds quickly and is available to people who wouldn’t usually qualify for our support. We can also contribute towards the cost of care or for therapeutic services whilst receiving care.
The Welfare and Wellbeing team supports those that have a financial need, but we recognise that giving a grant won’t solve everything. As part of our service, we signpost people to other organisations including debt management, gambling and addiction, which are all things that impact on wellbeing.
Another way of offering support is by referring beneficiaries to our free, confidential helpline for advice and emotional support. This can be practical advice from CAB trained advisers or counselling from BACP trained counsellors.
People often think they won’t be eligible because they have left the industry or are retired but that isn’t the case. We help people with a print history of at least three years and that doesn’t have to be current or consecutive. We will also consider helping if the print connection was through immediate family such as a parent or adult child. For people with a shorter print history, we may not be able to offer financial support, but they will still be eligible to use our helpline, even if they need help on their first day in the industry.
Asking for help isn’t easy, and now more than ever it’s vital that we ask our friends and family how they are, and really listen to the answer. A lot of people will say they’re fine but, if you’re not convinced, ask again. It’s okay to ask twice.
If you are connected to our industry and need support, speak to our Welfare and Wellbeing team.
This year we rebranded our annual awards as the Rising Star Awards to better reflect our multifaceted sector. There were 133 applications in total, and of those, 47 were awarded a prize.
This year’s Rising Stars are working in a wide range of roles including apprentice engineer, commissioning editor and creative marketing manager. Geographically, the furthest South winner is from the Isle of Wight and the furthest North is from Carnoustie in Scotland.
Our Chief Executive, Neil Lovell, is proud to see such strong applications adding; “These young people represent some of the very best talent right now and we know they will all go far in their chosen field. It’s particularly heartening to be able to share their success at a time when we are all looking to a more positive future”.
Recipients will use their grants to undertake a variety of courses to build core and practical skills, boost soft skills, develop leadership and management skills, or receive specialist coaching.
The charity will invite all of the stars to a virtual celebration later in June and to join its growing alumni group set up to help them stay connected to other young talent in the sector.
Whilst at university, Charlotte created her own graphic design and photography company, working for high end clients such as Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger. After a year working at Amazon, she took an opportunity at ArtSytems, developing an excellent relationship with her mentor and moving up through the ranks, eventually leading their resell channels. Now at R A Smart Large Format, Charlotte aims to develop her business skills to set up her own business, with a primary focus on introducing young women to the print industry.
Arnas has enjoyed every day of work since starting at Paul Turners Sign Writers in 2013, beginning as a print finisher/graphic designer, following in his Grandfather’s footsteps. Now an experienced service engineer with Agfa, he holds a rare skill set of in-depth knowledge and practical ability, on top of the ability to operate and diagnose printers. His next step is becoming a team leader, and he will be undertaking a Leadership Career Coaching Programme, with the goal of managing a highly efficient team.
Working as Marketing Manager at Head of Zeus, Vicky’s work focuses on creating communities and championing commercial fiction across a range of subjects. During lockdown she started Gingerbread Book Reviews, blogging about her favourite books, building relationships with influencers and other bloggers, and sharing a passion for the romance genre. In the future, she intends to combine her creativity with data driven decisions, putting her ahead of the curve and an asset to a larger marketing team.
With a background in Sports Studies, Hannah was recruited into the Print Industry as an Account Manager. Relocating to Dorset in 2016, she joined a print management company working with clients such as Specsavers and Euronics, where she developed her passion for production. Now working for Amberley Labels, Hannah is back doing what she loves as Account Manager for Estee Lauder. She is focused on Team Leader and Mental Health in the Workplace training to encourage wellbeing and efficiency in the business.
Since graduating with a first-class degree in Marketing, Nicola has worked with leading retailers including Poundland, Aldi, and Pets at Home, always growing her passion for print. Now POS Project Manager for Paragon Customer Communications, her fascination for print is still strong and she particularly loves the creative aspects. Nicola’s next step is taking on CIM courses, with a goal to one day of becoming a leading Chartered Marketer within print.
With a degree in Business Management, Jacob’s natural career was marketing. However, his first job as a Production Planner changed his path as he fell in love with print. Now an Account Manager at Webmart, he has successfully combined his passions for print and marketing, knowing that he is helping people with his work. Jake sees himself as an Account Director at Webmart within five years, and will be completing an ILM Level 3 Certificate Leadership & Management course with ICS Learn.
Whilst studying Law, Greg worked part time for Bell & Bain Ltd, and was invited to stay on full time after graduating. He is passionate about continuous education, as well as reading for pleasure, and now works with the very books he once used as study aids. Determined and ambitious, Greg’s goal is to train for Director level, and he is starting this with a Diploma in Strategic Management at the Distance Learning College.
Kira began her career in Print excited by the ways in which the industry evolves. She has now worked at Bluetree for over five years, starting out as Account Executive and now she’s Head of Client Services, working with three Team Leaders. Kira is passionate about making a difference and getting the opportunity to help her clients and other businesses grow. Now, she is looking to take her management and leadership skills to the next level, continuing to be an integral part of Bluetree’s growth.
Creativity has always been one of Paisley’s strengths, and with a talent for design she knew a career in the print industry would give her the potential to show this. Beginning as Trainee Seamstress for Northern Flag, she is now a Production Supervisor with extensive knowledge about print, and all the machines and products Northern Flag produces. Paisley is now focused on completing a leadership and management course with the aim of becoming a Production Manager.
Starting his career as an estimator in the building industry, an advert for an estimator role at Platinum Print caught Sam’s eye. Since starting in 2018, he has been promoted to Supervisor and now Sales Office Manager, managing a team of five. This experience broadened his horizons and he loves that print keeps him thinking as he enjoys the intricate jobs that come his way. Sam would now like to become the most proficient manager he can be, expanding his team even further.