National Apprenticeship Week



The Journalism Diversity Fund



Print Futures Awards Winners 2017



Papermaking apprentices including Print Futures Awards winners Georgia Irving and Brandon Hartley (right)

Our support for apprenticeships and training is rooted in our aim to help individuals to progress within their print-related career or identify pathways into employment for young people. This includes supporting training and apprenticeships, as well as special projects that give real-world and practical experience. Almost 500 individuals a year benefit from our education and partnership activities.

Some of the projects we support include:

  • The Queen’s Bindery Apprenticeship scheme, helping to preserve the rare skills of hand bookbinding
  • Papermaking Apprenticeship Trailblazer, helping young people gain practical experience of papermaking
  • Bound by Veterans, funding City & Guilds level 3 in bookbinding for veterans, leading to a potential career in bookbinding
  • NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund, supporting journalism training for under-represented groups to help create a more diverse newsroom
  • Rory Peck Trust assistance fund, helping freelance journalists with essential safety training in hostile environments
  • London College of Communication projects, giving real-world experience to students through live briefs

Our Print Futures Awards have supported 235 winners since 2009. These Awards help UK residents aged 18 to 30 years pay for recognised UK training courses or to develop their existing workplace skills in the UK printing, paper, publishing, packaging, and graphic arts sectors. This year our focus is on attracting more applications from people working in the industry, particularly those in UK-based SMEs, as well as apprentices and those studying for NVQs in print-related organisations. Follow this year’s Print Futures Awards on social media #PrintFutures2018. For more information, please see our Print Futures Awards page.

We are proud to support apprenticeships across the sectors we represent and encourage everyone interested in apprenticeships to find out more through their careers services, the National Apprenticeship Service or direct with industry bodies such as the BPIF and CPI.

We caught up with three of our Print Futures Awards winners to see how they are getting on and ask their views on the benefits of apprenticeships.

What have you been up to since winning a Print Futures Award?

Since winning a Print Futures Award, I have been continuing my apprenticeship. I am now being trained in specific roles where the company feels I will be best needed once my apprenticeship has been completed.

What did you spend your Award on?

I spent my Award on a laptop, which helps me with the engineering aspect of my job, as well as helping me to do my theory work.

How is your apprenticeship going?

I really enjoy my apprenticeship. As no two days are the same, I am learning something new every time I go to work. I am now part of a team that is training me in the different roles. I like being part of this team as I am learning from people who have been doing the job for years.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?

I would recommend doing an apprenticeship because you get to learn the role by doing it, instead of sitting in a classroom being taught how to do it. You also learn different skills that can help you in a variety of roles, instead of just being stuck in one area, so you can find the right job that is for you.

Georgia Irving

Papermaking Apprentice, Iggesund

What have you been up to since winning a Print Futures Award?

I am now coming up to the end of my 18-month apprenticeship with Paragon Customer Communications. The print knowledge that I have gained so far has been incredibly useful in my day-to-day duties. I am continuing to learn so much more about this vast industry, with special focus on the transition from traditional litho printing to the digital age, and the increasing role that data plays in today’s printing processes.

What did you spend your Award on?  

My original plan remains the same. Once I’ve completed my current course, I will use my Award to pay for a Prince2 Practitioner course relevant to the print and communications industry.

How is your apprenticeship going?

Great! The amount of information and knowledge that I’ve learned has been invaluable. Having gone from not knowing anything about the print industry to gaining a solid foundation of essential knowledge has been truly beneficial in my day-to-day duties. I’ve learned more than I ever thought was possible and I am always finding out something new! The people that I work with are amazing and are always ready to help.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?

Most importantly? An apprenticeship provides hands-on experience and unlimited access to invaluable knowledge. Some of my colleagues have been in the industry for over a decade (or three) so I’m absorbing all the knowledge that they’re willing to share, which is extraordinary. Since the start of my apprenticeship, my social skills have improved greatly as a result of having to adapt to demanding situations and having to work with a range of people throughout the business. I don’t regret going into an apprenticeship instead of going to university as it definitely offers many advantages that a formal university route simply cannot offer.

Hamza Loonat

Project Management Apprentice, Paragon Customer Communications

What have you been up to since winning a Print Futures Award?

Winning the Award boosted my confidence. My apprenticeship training has continued to challenge me, with more and more complex tasks being entrusted to me, which is great.

What did you spend your Award on?

I purchased a MacBook Pro with the Award. Having this at home has certainly helped me develop more quickly and I’m even doing some freelance work for friends and family!

How is your apprenticeship going?

I have completed my coursework. I feel I’ve done well and I’m waiting for my SQA certificate to arrive and a job offer… hopefully.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships allow students to gain vital real-world experience rather than just academic learning in their chosen field and, if you’re good enough, a job, which I feel is absent in other forms of higher education.

Michael Cassidy

Apprentice Pre-press Technician , Service Graphics

See the latest press releases with updates from some of our partnerships:

London College of Communication – The meaning of print in today’s society

Papermaking Apprenticeship Trailblazer – Paper industry welcomes new apprentices

Bound by Veterans – The Printing Charity funds new bookbinding qualification for WIS veterans

Four retired printers living at our sheltered home, Beaverbrook House, recently visited BCQ Group in Buckinghamshire to gain an insight into what print looks like today. Read more on our press release – BCQ Group hosts visit for retired printers

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