The Printing Charity’s Relationship Manager Gary Giles, shares his thoughts and experience on apprenticeships

apprenticeship week gary giles

The 14th National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 8 – 14 February 2021. The annual week-long celebration highlights the amazing work being done by employers and apprentices across the country.

Gary Giles, Relationship Manager

What is an apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships date back to the Middle Ages and the medieval craft guilds to ensure high standards of quality skills and experience were passed onto the next generation. Today, apprenticeships provide an alternative path to higher university education while ensuring that professions and industries have the right skilled workers. 

An apprenticeship is a paid position with a participating employer, based on an earn as you learn approach, where at least 20% of the time is set aside for learning. The remainder of the time is spent applying your knowledge and skills in the workplace. At the end, you’ll gain an official certification equivalent to traditional qualifications. 

Varied career experience

There may be students reading this who may not know what area they want to work in. I think it’s important to enter a field that resonates with your interests, or where you can leverage subjects you excel in. The more you enjoy it, the more you will get out of it. Rest assured, whatever field you choose or end up in you’ll learn many transferable skills that will stand you in good stead throughout your career. 

I started my career in the late 70’s, joining the printing industry with a four-year apprenticeship as a re-toucher/camera operator working for a print-packaging company. We produced both wet glue and  self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging for the likes of Bells Whisky, Baileys Irish Cream and Baxter’s soups. This gave me a broad understanding of several printing processes including lithography, letterpress, foil blocking, embossing and die cutting, along with a City & Guild qualification equivalent to an A level.  

The Rising Star Awards

There are many hard and soft skills to learn that will benefit you in your career and personal life. Hard skills might be operating a machine whereas soft skills are more of the social skills like communication and problem solving. These soft skills are highly desirable by employers and transferable during your career.

The annual Rising Star Awards recognise the best young talent in our industry and helps them to reach their career goals. If you are an apprentice or working in the wider printing sector and aged 18-30, you could receive funding of up to £1500 towards the training or equipment you need. 

We’ve written a helpful guide to soft skills and why you need them and listed some of the online soft skills courses available. Once you know what you need to accelerate your career, and you can demonstrate why the award would help, we would love to hear from you. 

To apply, fill in this application form and return it to us before 7 March 2021.

Get in touch

If you, or someone you know needs support, or you’d like to know more about our free, confidential helpline, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

To find out more give us a call on 01293 542 820
or click the button below.

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