Print Charity to Help Plug Skills Gap

19 January 2015

The Printing Charity is looking to plug a skills gap for 16-30 years old in a rapidly changing industry where many workers are heading towards retirement.

Applicants are now being sought for Print Futures, a programme to fund training for 16-30 year-olds in a sector where estimates suggest 80 percent of the workforce are now over 50.

Stephen Gilbert, The Print Charity chief executive, said:

“We have to train the next generation because we have a cohort of people who are going to retire." 

In Yorkshire the print and associated digital and creative industries employ more than 120,000 people.

Stephen Gilbert added:

“We take printed material and all of its associated words and graphics for granted because it surrounds us.

“It is such an important part of our daily lives. We need youngsters to come in and keep an economically important sector going.”

“There have been huge productivity gains at the cost of jobs. We have global competition. The quality of print coming out of China and India is very high.”

“The UK can compete and does compete (because of) it’s ability to be flexible and react to short-term needs. Industry now works on just in time. If you get it printed in China, you have to ship it in.”

“The other thing we are ahead in is sheer innovation. There is huge innovation going on up here in Yorkshire.”

Grants of up to £1,500 are being made available for young people to develop or learn existing skills that should increase the number of young people coming into the industry.

The Print Futures programme hopes to administer 36 grants in 2015 an increase of 10 on the previous year.  Overall the charity wants to help 700 people this year with the aim of helping 2,000 by 2017.

Founded in 1827 the organisation is the second oldest occupational charity in Britain after the clockmakers, with Queen Victoria having been the first patron.  The charity is backed by £30m and spends around £2m a year; its investments generate an income of £750,000 to £800,000 a year, said Mr Gilbert.

The charity helped 660 people last year, plans to increase this to 700 in 2015 and aims to reach 2,000 by 2017.

Support for training costs

The Print Futures awards were launched in 2003 to help people fund costs associated with a relevant training course in printing, publishing or the graphic arts.

They are open to people who are aged between 16 and 30, are resident in the UK, are already working in printing, publishing or the graphic arts and would like to undertake short courses or training sessions to develop their skills or intend studying or are already studying for a job in printing, publishing or the graphic arts in the UK.

Applicants will need to be available to attend an interview in London.

Grants of up to £1,500 each are available to help pay for any costs associated with a relevant training course.

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