At the meeting, finance director Peter Allen reported a slight increase in turnover at the BPIF from £2,245,000 to £2,248,000 for the financial year before perspectives shifted outwards to consider the wider sector the federation serves, as well as UK business in general.
The need to attract young people to the sector was reiterated in the opening keynote speech from former Royal Mail HR director and motivational speaker Kevin Green.
He said: “We have a fantastic labour market, but we have three kinds of shortage: labour, skills and talent, all being played out at the same time.
“It comes from the soft stuff; the key is for businesses to recognise that people are the most important part in creating value and wealth, but we have taken a lot of people out of the middle of our organisations by automating admin, hollowing out the labour market.
“To harness human potential, we have to reorganise and think about how best to attract people into our organisations. Treat people well, give them room to make decisions, train them and develop them.”
With sights straight ahead, the BPIF unveiled a rebrand to solidify its position as a “modern, membership-based organisation”, according to chief executive Charles Jarrold. Its focus on clean-cut lines and minimalistic simplicity is intended to reflect the “clear, best-in-class thinking” of the industry body for the benefit of the sector.
Jarrold said: “The issue of representation is at the heart of any trade association and it is one of our key roles to play a part in letting the government know what our sector needs.
“People are heartily fed up with Brexit – it is a mess and is not going to go away – and we have a clear responsibility to help you understand the issues affecting your businesses.
“Despite our sector being concerned about Brexit and already experiencing cost increases, there is still an overwhelming demand for print. For example, there is an 80% preference for physical books in the UK. There really is nothing quite
“Our mission is to educate, equip and inspire the next generation by making sure there is a range of career opportunities available. There is no silver bullet to address our skills needs but we will spend the next year looking for every opportunity to spread the word.”
He concluded: “We can look forward with confidence, as strong as ever.”
The AGM was followed by an afternoon reception at the House of Commons, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Print Group (APPPG).
BPIF programme director Ursula Daly was commended for her successful efforts to attain government approval for Level 3 Trailblazer apprenticeships and Jarrold highlighted her ongoing efforts to attain approval for Level 2, which he said would be “vital” for the sector.
At the late afternoon APPPG event, Unite national officer Louisa Bull said: “A lot has been said about skills and succession, yet employers continue to not use the apprenticeship levy and have not got succession plans in place.
“Many of us will be back here in a few weeks for the Print Futures awards and when you meet the youngsters there who will be looking for jobs, I urge you to pick them up because their talent is tremendous.”
Industry accolades were also awarded at the reception. Graphic Packaging International print manager Andrew Pearson took the Kathy Woodward award.
As he presented Pearson’s award, Webmart managing director Simon Biltcliffe said: “The future is about building jobs around people rather than fitting people to a job description. I worked with Kathy Woodward and she gave me a psychometric evaluation that I thought was voodoo at the time, but it was massively helpful to understanding how I work.
“Young people are more vulnerable than ever, but also more intelligent than ever. We need people with drive and determination that we can build up by focusing on their strengths.”
An award for outstanding contribution to the print industry was won by ProCo chief executive Jon Bailey.
He said: “For those who do not know me, I am just a printer from Sheffield, but I am very proud of my 160 people.
“You do not realise how genuinely humbled by this I am. I love what I do. We have to change our industry to keep it going and it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation is thriving.”