There is a vast array of roles available in the printing industry throughout the entire production process. Firms sometimes have particular specialisms, such as stationery, labels, packaging materials or printing on metal. At Cambrian Printers, we are an established family firm which prints magazines, books, catalogues, brochures and journals from our base in Wales. Whether you are a young person just making choices about your future career or are considering moving into the printing industry from another sector, there are plenty of employment options to consider. In general, people enter the printing industry following a full-time training course or a traineeship with a firm. Here, we explain four key roles in the printing industry which are highlighted by Careers Wales.
Responsible for setting up and running printing presses, machine printers are an invaluable part of the operation. They receive the customer’s requirements and then load the machine with paper or other materials. Following a trial run to check that everything is functioning correctly, it’s then time to begin the process. There are no set qualifications which are needed to begin a career as a machine printer, but GCSEs at C grade or above including English, Maths, ICT, art and design would be an advantage. Some people also begin their careers following an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Print and Printed Packaging.
It’s the print finisher’s responsibility to take printed goods and complete the process. They are required to have skills in using machinery to fold, cut and assemble printed products. This often involves using a guillotine to cut the printed material and machines to crease, fold, staple, stitch, bind and glue it. It’s also up to the print finishers in a firm to adjust and control the machines. GCSEs at A*-C grades including English, Maths, ICT and art and design are desirable. Again, there are entry opportunities available through an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Print and Printed Packaging.
It’s their job to transfer images onto a range of different materials. They make a stencil of the design which is then reproduced on a mesh screen. Coloured inks are then applied which create the shape on the stencil below. As with the positions above, good GCSE passes in relevant subjects can be an advantage, and an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is always helpful.
This role is extremely varied and tasks can include operating photocopiers and print finishing machines. The main thrust of the job is to prepare machines for the next job by setting them to the specifications required. They also need to clean and maintain the machinery, plus load and unload paper. Entry requirements differ depending on the firm, although most employees undertake on-the-job training leading to NVQs. Others also undertake an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.