Rising star, Brandon Hartley

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.  

Brandon Hartley, Windermans Assistant at Iggesund Paperboard, spoke to us about how his Print Futures Award helped him through his papermaking apprenticeship as well as sharing his thoughts and advice to those thinking about pursuing a career in the print industry. 

How did the Print Futures Awards help you?

I won my Print Futures Award in 2017 whilst undertaking my apprenticeship. My award allowed me to purchase a new laptop and Microsoft Office software, which was invaluable in my final year of research and study at home. 

My work and coursework was more efficient as I was taking notes much more easily and all my files were in one place; enabling me to complete the technical part of my apprenticeship with ease. I could take my laptop into work for my weekly learning log, proving to my employer and qualifying body the different skills I had achieved. Alongside this, I was able to highlight areas that I didn’t have knowledge in and was able to do research on these if physical training wasn’t available.

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

Do some research to learn about the industry and all the opportunities it has! You’re always going to look better in an interview if you’re well researched. Depending on the area you want to go into, brushing up on basics in chemistry could be helpful to understand the chemical processing involved in papermaking.

I think making sure you have these core skills too is important:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • An interest in the repair and maintenance of machines and tools
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device 

Overall my advice would be to go for it! This industry is something I’m now really passionate about. Everyday is different and constant challenges arise making it interesting and stimulating.

“By shining a light on the industry it’ll introduce more young workers into paper, production, and printing.”

Where do you turn for support in your career?

I’ve been lucky to build up a vast support network during my career. I’m always able to turn to others within my mill to ask questions if I’m unsure or need further guidance. From my apprenticeship, I made links with employees from other mills, which has been really helpful, offering support on different jobs or equipment I’ve never used before. 

The Printing Charity has also supported me, providing opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m lucky to be supported by friends and family, who I can turn to for guidance about work or personal issues.

What are your aspirations for the future of your career?

I hope to progress through the ranks within my mill and the production line, with the ultimate goal to become part of management staff; such as head of production or mill director. I want to inspire others, promote campaigns and teaching to schools and colleges, and amongst the wider community. I believe the profession is often overlooked and by shining a light on the industry it’ll introduce more young workers into paper, production, and printing. 

I’d also love to work more with The Printing Charity, spreading the word on their work and the help they give to so many people. I could even go on to have further training and move into quality control or paper technology, with career options in supervisory management, technical sales or production plant management, but mainly I wish to be successful and promote this industry to others.


You can also read more from Brandon as he spoke to us about the world of papermaking. 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

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