So You Want To Work In The Print Industry?

So you think you might want to work in the print industry? Well the first thing you need to do is to find out what kind of jobs there are out there.  The printing, graphics and packaging industry is massive – the fourth largest industry in the UK, employing approximately 160,000 people.  There is a massive range of jobs from editors, artists, writers and graphic designers to press operators, job printers, bindery workers and many more. It might help you start thinking about which area of the industry you are interested in working in and start from there? Are you interested in the printed word, illustration, package design etc?
To start out in the industry you will need some basic GCSEs ? core subjects such as English and Maths are essential and, depending which area you want to work in, you might also need Art, Graphics, IT or Design Technology.  If you want to work in the writing, illustration or graphic design sector then A’ Levels and a degree in your chosen subject will give you a head start. Degree courses such as Illustration often offer work placements within the industry and will give you useful contacts, as well as valuable insight into how the industry works.  Check the UCAS catalogue to find the best course for you.
Vocational qualifications are also available ? S/NVQs cover a diverse range of topics including: hand binding, carton manufacture, digital artwork for print and machine printing.  There is also a City in Guilds Certificate in Printing and Graphic Communication and BTEC offers certificates in Graphics and printing – check out your local further education college or technical institute to see what they have on offer.  Print apprenticeships are less common these days, but some companies offer paid or unpaid internships where you can gain hands on experience and some get some inside knowledge of the industry. You can find details of internships on the Internet or from your local college or university.
Careers offices and job centres can also advise you how to break into your chosen field, and there are a host of resources available on the Internet. Specialist recruitment websites like Printweekjobs have careers advice sections designed to help you find out exactly how to find training or break into your chosen field. They also have forums where you can ask advice from people already working within your chosen area.

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J. Webb is a journalist working for Print Week Jobs.