“We need to light the fire and ignite inspiration in our young people to explore the incredible world of reprographics,” said Matt Francklow, managing director of Creation Reprographics.
Specialists in packaging artwork, reprographics and plate production, Creation, is calling for change to encourage more young people to consider careers in the industry.
Established in 2004, Creation offers 24-hour reprographics and platemaking services to the UK and European print markets. The company has previously employed young graduates to adapt and bring fresh new ideas and people into the business.
Francklow said, “We need to set the right foundation for a positive flow of new talent into our industry. It is our belief that the right balance of diversity and inclusion drives better business performance. We see young talent as a great way to bring new and fresh ideas into this creative industry.”
The UK printing industry has a turnover of £13bn and employs 116,000 people, according to new data sourced by the BPIF. In addition, figures have revealed 8.4 per cent of the industry’s workforce is under the age of 24.
17-year-old Charlie Barge, who is currently a studio trainee at Creation, had previously carried out work experience at the Daventry headquartered company. He is now working alongside experts in designing creative artwork, maintaining digital systems, running equipment and controlling output and quality for specific projects.
Barge said, “It’s the design aspect of the industry that I love. It never gets boring, there are always new creative jobs coming in to tackle. The freedom to express yourself through your designs is the most satisfying element of the job. I also enjoy learning about new technologies and software systems, which help to bring designs to life.
“Young people have a different outlook and view. They bring a fresh insight to the reprographic industry with new concepts. They find it easier to adapt to change and are more technologically aware.”
Barge believes the industry needs to open its doors to the younger generation and show them what it entails, something Francklow agrees with: “Part of the problem stems from a lack of awareness amongst young people of the job opportunities within our industry and what those jobs involve. Connecting schools and colleges with the industry will help to bridge this gap and highlight the opportunities in our sector.”
Barge, who is still studying digital design at college and working at Creation during the school holidays, is hoping his enthusiasm, positivity and developing skill set will secure him a full time role once he has completed his course.
Organisations such as the BPIF, The Institute of Packaging and The Printing Charity have made efforts to encourage young people to consider print as a career, but more needs to be done.
Francklow concluded, “We need to invest in staff to futureproof our business. We need to inspire young people to become the next generation of designers and printers. Addressing the age and possible skills gap is a critical issue and giving young people access to career and training opportunities has never been more important for our industry.”