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With an ever-growing need for the industry to teach the next generation, David Osgar looks at the options and benefits available through apprenticeships in the print industry

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Learning from the best

While the term apprentice may herald thoughts of potential employees of Alan Sugar, apprentices date all the way back to the Middle Ages, when children were sent away to learn vital trades.

As far back as the 1400s apprentices were used in print to help operate print houses run by master printers. Apprentices were usually teenagers or young adults who would prepare ink, dampen sheets of paper, and assist with the press.

Fast forward over 600 years later and apprenticeships in the print industry have progressed leaps and bounds since their origins.

Modern apprenticeships are vital to carrying on the trade of print and teaching a generation the skills needed to give us the print necessities we require today. Modern qualifications can see learners placed into the world of print administration, and press and post press operation. As well as this, employees can gain experience and skills in areas like carton manufacturing, finishing, binding, and envelope printing.

But with changes in technology and new types of print and manufacturing always evolving, apprenticeships are also changing to include areas like digital print, robotics, and graphics.

So, what companies are currently offering apprenticeships, and how are they impacting the industry?

Building opportunities

Whether a large or small company, apprentices can help to diversify and enhance any business. Not only does it demonstrate a company’s commitment to talent and opportunities, but also opens the door to new voices and methods.

The British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) has a long history within training and apprenticeships. As a trade association committed to the growth of the print sector, the BPIF directly liaises with print businesses and helps overcome the challenges and hurdles they face.