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Article: Printing Industry

Summary

This article covers the following jobs:

  • Machine Printer
  • Print Finisher
  • Reprographics Operative
  • Screen Printer.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Video: - Various: Publishing and Printing

Introduction

The printing process covers a wide range of jobs from preparing material for printing to finishing the product. Printing firms may specialise in general printing, books, magazines, newspapers, high quality colour printing such as greeting cards, stationery, labels, packaging materials and printing on metal.

People usually enter this type of work after a full-time training course or through a traineeship with a printing firm. Both routes lead to qualifications in printing.

Some of the different careers in this area

Machine Printer

Machine printers set up and run printing presses. The printer receives the customer's requirements, then loads the machine with paper or other materials, such as plastic or board.

A trial run is done so that any adjustments can be made before the main run begins. The machine printer is responsible for the machine while it is running.

No formal qualifications are needed to enter this job. However, some GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade C or above, including English, Maths, ICT, and art and design subjects will be useful.

Some people enter via Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Print and Printed Packaging.

Print Finisher

Print finishers take printed goods and make them into a finished product. They are skilled in using machinery to fold, cut and put together the printed products.

Print finishers may operate a guillotine to cut the printed material, and use other machines to crease, fold, staple, stitch, bind and glue it. Most finishers perform all or some of these tasks, depending on the individual company or job. However some perform just one function in the process.

Print finishers also have to adjust and control the machines. A few printing firms bind books by hand. This is highly skilled work that involves using special hand tools and quality materials such as gold leaf, leather and linen thread. These kinds of bookbinding skills might also be used in the repair and renovation of old or damaged books.

No formal qualifications are needed to enter this job. However, some GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade C or above, including English, Maths, ICT, and art and design subjects will be useful.

Some people enter via Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Print and Printed Packaging.

Screen Printer

Screen printers transfer images onto a variety of materials, such as T-shirts, posters, glass, ceramics and stainless steel. A screen printer makes a stencil to match the shape to be printed, which is then copied onto a very fine mesh screen. Coloured inks are then passed through the stencil onto the material below.

No formal qualifications are needed to enter this job. However, some GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade C or above, including English, Maths, ICT, and art and design subjects will be useful.

Some people enter via Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Print and Printed Packaging.

Reprographics Operative

Reprographics operatives are usually responsible for a variety of tasks, including operating photocopiers and various print finishing machines. The range of duties varies from place to place.

The work involves preparing machines for the next job, by setting and adjusting the machine as required. The operative also has to clean and maintain the machinery, including replacing toner in photocopiers.

The copiers have to be loaded and unloaded with paper. Then the printed material is transferred to the next stage of production.

Entry requirements vary from company to company. The usual route is through on-the-job training leading to NVQs in relevant subjects.

Some people enter via Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Print and Printed Packaging.

Further Information

Proskills UK

Skills for process and manufacturing industries

Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY

Tel: 01235 833844

Email: info@proskills.co.uk

Website: www.proskills.co.uk

Prospect4u

Careers in manufacturing

Website: www.prospect4u.co.uk

GQA Qualifications

Address: Unit 1, 12 O'clock Court, Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S4 7WW

Tel: 0114 2720033

Email: info@gqaqualifications.com

Website: www.gqaqualifications.com

Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing (IP3)

Address: Claremont House, 70-72 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3EZ

Tel: 0870 3308625

Email: info@ip3.org.uk

Website: www.ip3.org.uk

British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF)

Address: 2 Villiers Court, Meriden Business Park, Copse Drive, Coventry CV5 9RN

Tel: 0845 2507050

Email: hello@bpif.org.uk

Website: www.britishprint.com

National Skills Academy for Print

Address: 85B Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY

Tel: 01235 432030

Email: info@mps-academy.co.uk

Website: www.printskillsacademy.co.uk

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