Print association promotes apprenticeships as Scotland faces up to succession gap

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Garry Richmond was appointed Print Scotland director last year

Trade association Print Scotland sees more modern apprenticeships as the way to plug the warned succession gap that is predicted in the country’s print industry by 2030.

Scotland’s printing sector employs 6,000 people, with participants ranging from small-scale digital businesses, to whisky label printers, commercial color printers, and the newspaper and book printing industries. Experts have warned that the industry will face a succession gap as soon as 2030, which Print Scotland wants to see plugged through the provision of modern apprenticeship opportunities for members – those in the manufacturing side of the print industry - and associate members – which supply the manufacturers.

Garry Richmond, who was appointed Print Scotland director last year, said: ‘With all the changes in technology, print has been seen as something of a sunset industry. But nothing could be further from the truth. Print is just another communication platform and a highly effective one, and we aim to help our members with apprentice recruitment, a cogent voice in the corridors of power, genuine cost saving benefits, professional guidance on compliance with legislation and much more.’

Print Scotland has reported an upswing in new members since launching a recruitment campaign last year. This has included Kodak as an associate member and Glasgow-based PR Print, an environmentally-conscious printer. Other new members include: Inchinnan-based ACA Print Finishing and Packaging Solutions, Scotland’s largest print finishing company; International Finishing Systems, which provides bespoke finishing equipment to the industry; Glasgow-based digital operator Push Print; digital and wide format specialist Love & Humphrey’s; Matic Media of Coatbridge; and Multiprint in Kirkcaldy.

Richmond said: ‘We have arrested the fall in print-related business member numbers, and are looking forward now to enrolling more members, representing their interests at the highest levels of government decision-making, and placing greater numbers of modern apprentices with our members.

‘Our apprenticeship opportunity programs are open to non-members, but we are encouraging everyone in Scotland’s graphic communication industry to board the Print Scotland train, and let our community of experts speak with one voice.’

Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) CEO Andrew Macaulay has advocated government assistance for a national system to halt the current slide in apprenticeships in the country, which has seen the numbers fall from 500,000 to 275,000 in the last five years.

Read Andy Thomas' opinion piece on the threat of a skills gap in the label and package printing industry, and the role of the Label Academy as a ‘lifeboat’ of industry knowledge