The Printing Charity (TPC) has used its annual Print Futures Awards ceremony to announce the launch of its new alumni programme.
The programme, which is set to have its first event in early 2017, will be looking to connect the 157 winners of the awards since its inaugural ceremony took place in 2009.
This year’s awards took place on 19 July and were the first to be overseen by newly appointed TPC chief executive Neil Lovell.
Lovell used his speech to the crowd of approximately 175 at the House of Lords to announce the programme.
Lovell told PrintWeek: “It’s great to recognise these 50 winners, and the 157 since it started, but what we really want to do is make sure we are with them and continue seeing how they do in their chosen career.
“There is still a lot more the sector can do to help bridge the gap between leaving college and training and getting into employment and part of the alumni group's role will be its ability to create a couple of events a year, which are about people from the sector talking to the group and the group talking to potential recruiters."
Other than the two or three events a year that the alumni programme will be putting on, it will also be setting up a way in which its members can connect via social media, most likely through Facebook and LinkedIn. Three of this year’s Print Future’s winners have been recruited to help with its organisation.
“If you’re from a professional service organisation you come out and want to be a lawyer and an accountant, it’s very clear what training programme you can go through. But if you’re coming from, say, the London College of Communication, and you want a job, it’s really hard. So we are thinking how we can help in that way,” said Lovell.
At the event, after speeches from the host Baroness Dean, Printing Charity vice-president Lord Black and a keynote from this year’s TPC patron Lord Blunkett, winners were invited up in groups to receive their prizes.
Winners are given a £1,500 prize to be put towards their chosen career path within the industry.
Initially, there were 88 applications, of which 66 were interviewed by six Printing Charity employees over two days, before the number was whittled down to 50.
Lovell said: “This year was incredibly vibrant and lively. New talent in the industry is really encouraging to see and even though it was the hottest day of the year, no one’s enthusiasm was dimmed.”
Lovell also highlighted a number of winners that had particularly impressed him, including Helena McNish, who is currently interning with the charity, illustrator Daniel Weatheritt, and Daniel Pelly, who has just been accepted onto the De La Rue apprenticeship programme.
Lovell, who became interim head of the charity in February, and was appointed on a permanent basis in May, said he is looking to boost the charity's accessibility and continue to help young people to find a way into the industry.