Big Scottish printers sweep up at apprentice awards

Max Goldbart
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Apprentices at some of Scotland’s largest print houses collected gongs at last month’s Graphic Enterprise Scotland (GES) Apprentice Awards.

The awards, the second to be held by GES, took place on 21 April at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, and were attended by the likes of Bell & Bain, Tradeprint and J Thomson Colour Printers. Sponsors at the event, which was attended by around 40 people along with all of GES’ 28 apprentices, included HP, Antalis and Muller Martini.

The overall apprentice of the year award went to Bell & Bain’s Ross Docherty, a post-press apprentice and son of GES president Stephen Docherty, who is also managing director of Bell & Bain.

Stephen Docherty said he was “delighted” to present the award as a “proud father”.

GES director Garry Richmond said: “The competition to win gets fiercer every year as the people coming through are very strong contenders. I was very impressed with the young people, they have the right attitude, the right work ethic and are willing to learn.”

Muller Martini northern Europe sales manager David McGinlay, who himself was an apprentice at the Glasgow College of Building and Printing, presented a number of prizes and said he was “honoured to take part in such an important event”. 

Other winners on the night included Tradeprint’s Scott Stockman for lithography, J Thomson’s Craig Robertson for print finishing and NSD International’s Gordon Smith for digital print.

“We want more of the same for next year,” said Richmond. 

“We’ve got an active campaign to increase the number of apprentices across Scotland because there is forecast to be a skills shortage by 2030 in Scotland. The competition for new employees is going to be fierce so the print industry has to make itself more attractive as a career and has to attract more apprentices.” 

Richmond was also critical of the Apprenticeship Levy, which came into force last month and is part of a government plan to create an additional 3 million apprentices by 2020.

He added: “I think the Levy is not helpful in that it is taking money off larger employers. It doesn’t affect a lot of our members but it will affect some and I just feel the government are shifting money about whereas they could just focus on training.”

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