Print finishers operate machines to turn printed materials into finished products. They work on a wide variety of different products, such as books, magazines and catalogues.
Also known as
Video: - Matt: Print Finisher
Video: - Scott: Print Finisher
As a Print Finisher, you will receive printed materials and make them into finished products.
You will operate machines that combine a number of actions, such as cutting, stitching together pages and binding them into a book. You also adjust and control the machines.
You are multiskilled and able to perform different tasks depending on the requirement of the job. However, some work in a team of Print Finishers who each perform just one function in the process.
Bookbinders are highly skilled Craftworkers who use special hand tools and quality materials, such as gold leaf, leather and linen thread for gilding and lettering. You may also use your bookbinding skills to repair and renovate old or damaged books.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Print Finisher, you'll need to:
- be reasonably fit as some lifting is required
- have IT skills
- be good with your hands
- work accurately as attention to detail is important
- be able to cope with changes in printing techniques and re-train if required
The job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £16,500 - £18,000
- With experience: £19,000 - £22,000
- Senior Print Finishers earn £24,000
Hours of work
You usually work 37.5 hours a week; shift work and weekend working may be required and overtime may be available.
Where could I work?
Employers are printing firms of all sizes - large and small, specialist print finishing firms, high street quick-print shops, local government print departments and educational institutions.
Opportunities for Print Finishers occur in printing firms in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
There are no set entry routes into this career. However, many employers will want you to have at least some passes at GCSE or equivalent.
An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
People entering the print industry might start as a Print Room Assistant, or Reprographics Assistant.
As a new entrant, you will train on-the-job and might also attend college. Relevant courses are available throughout the UK.
Experienced Print Finishers often move into Supervisor positions.
Previous experience in manufacturing and production work, such as a Process Operator/Machine Operative would be useful for this career.
Entry requirements for this career vary according to the employer.
Many employers prefer applicants to have GCSEs in subjects such as English, maths and ICT.
To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Some companies prefer to employ applicants with skills gained in the printing industry.
Practical skills and abilities gained in manufacturing production work, eg, as a process operator/machine operative, are useful.
- 12% of people in this career work part-time.
- 9% have flexible hours.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Skills for process and manufacturing industries
Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY
Tel: 01235 833844
Careers in manufacturing
Address: Unit 1, 12 O'clock Court, Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S4 7WW
Tel: 0114 2720033
Harrison Scott Associates
Recruitment in printing, packaging and paper industries
British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF)
Address: 2 Villiers Court, Meriden Business Park, Copse Drive, Coventry CV5 9RN
Tel: 0845 2507050
Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing (IP3)
Address: Claremont House, 70-72 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3EZ
Tel: 0870 3308625