Young talent hailed

Scottish apprentice awards winners revealed

(L-R) Garry Richmond; Susan Graham; Jack Campbell; Adam Dobbie; Gordon Sally; Jack Clark; Liam Thomson; Jim McKenzie
(L-R) Garry Richmond; Susan Graham; Jack Campbell; Adam Dobbie; Gordon Sally; Jack Clark; Liam Thomson; Jim McKenzie

The winners of the ninth annual Scottish Print Apprentice of the Year awards have been revealed.

The initiative, which recognises the achievements of print apprentices and their potential to secure the future health and prosperity of the printing industry in Scotland, heard a spirited appeal from Susan Graham, the president of trade association Print Scotland, for more young people to consider the attractions of an apprenticeship in the print industry.

“Today we celebrate the success of our young print industry colleagues, all of whom, I am certain, have an outstanding future ahead of them, because the print industry, the sixth largest sector in the economy, has never gone away and continues to thrive,” said Graham.

“Print is still here, present in all our lives. It is a renewable resource, it is tactile and people, across the globe, continue to use it every day, not just to inform and entertain themselves, but also to organise their lives. We need to grow our own to control our own success. 

“So as well as congratulating today’s award-winners, my message to the young people of Scotland is that a career in the print industry continues to be rewarding, satisfying and important to the health and strength of our economy and one that I urge them to consider.

“I also want to thank all the employers who take on our modern apprentices and the production teams and managers who take them under their wing to teach while hitting their own targets.”

She also thanked training officer Jim McKenzie and sponsors Antalis, Muller Martini, CCL Design, and EBB.

Four awards were made to outstanding apprentices, in addition to a new category, ‘Mentor of The Year’, which recognises the vital role that experienced print industry professionals can play in bringing apprentices to fulfil their potential.

As well as raising the profile of future leaders of the print sector, the awards ceremony highlighted the way in which it is increasingly being seen as a rewarding and socially worthwhile career option among younger people.

Garry Richmond, director of Print Scotland, said: “Refreshing and enhancing our talent bank of printing expertise is vital as an increasing cohort of highly experienced print professionals reach retirement age.

“With this new stream of print apprentices present today, whose ability, aptitude and potential we recognise in the distribution of these awards, we can be cautiously optimistic about the future of our industry.

“The print sector has significantly enhanced its support for apprentices in recent years and is definitely seeing the benefit of this forward-looking approach for employers and individuals. 

“We urge the Scottish government and its agencies to reinforce our success by continuing to invest significantly to allow us to create more opportunities for our young people.”

Pre-Press Apprentice of the Year was awarded to Jack Campbell of Deacon Brothers, Press Apprentice of the Year went to Adam Dobbie from Newsprinters UK, Eurocentral, and Post-Press Apprentice of the Year was awarded to Jack Clark at Bell & Bain.

Gordon Sally from Bell & Bain was named Mentor of the Year while the Overall Apprentice of the Year award went to Liam Thomson from FLB.

Thomson, who has worked at FLB for two years, has only two modules left to complete before he becomes a fully qualified printer.

He said: “I was lucky enough to have a neighbour who worked at FLB and recommended I apply for an apprenticeship.”

McKenzie also commented: “Liam started out quietly but has gone on to do really well. What makes Liam stand out is that he’s taken all his learnings on board very quickly and his manager, Tony McGuire, says he is an integral member of the production team and one of the strongest apprentices FLB has had.”

Print Scotland provides training for modern apprentices through the Scottish Training Scheme, which provides a grant from the Scottish government to cover the cost of the training. It also provides a range of Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) as well as Modern Apprenticeship (MA) certification.