In light of Paragon CC announcing a new apprenticeship levy fund, we spoke to Sophie Kirby, Head of Education and Partnerships, about routes into employment through apprenticeships and why they should be considered for those looking to join the print industry.  

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: 

  • They are suitable for both new recruits and the development of existing staff 
  • There are few barriers to entry 
  • A broad variety of apprenticeships are offered, across many training providers, all over the country
  • The programmes offer a nice balance between learning and working, which provides on the job experience and an income, as well as a qualification  
  • Working with your employer to tailor your training can be really valuable, as you can work together to fulfil their future requirements and carve a career pathway  
  • Apprenticeships are offered at many levels, right up to degree level  
  • They also offer the opportunity to broaden horizons – with the experience of working with your training provider and meeting other apprentices outside of your workplace  

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.