Leicestershire-headquartered print finisher Frip Finishing has taken on two new apprentices, after successfully recruiting four in 2016, as part of a new strategy.
The company plans on continuing to take on at least four apprentices a year over the next few years, including this year, meaning a total of six in 2017.
The two new apprentices, Jack Richardson and Morgan Power, started in Frip’s foil blocking department last Monday (9 January). They are aiming to achieve an NVQ Level 3 in print finishing, which will take between 18 and 30 months and cover the likes of foil blocking, lamination and coatings.
They are working in Frip’s Manchester site, one of its six sites, the others being in Hinckley, Glasgow, Redhill, Birmingham and Reading.
Frip managing director Leslie Gibson said: “Fundamentally, Brexit did change things and there is to my mind going to be a shortage in the labour pool going forward and we better start doing something about it now.
“It is like bringing in new blood to any organisation. They have a different attitude, different perspective, youngsters are more IT-literate, more literate in the modern world and the way the modern world communicates.
“We’ve not just had applications through the web but because we advertise outside our premises we’ve had a number of youngsters who have knocked on our gate and enquired about the opportunity.”
The four apprentices who started last year are said to be doing well and are currently working in hot foil stamping, screen printing and lamination.
Seventy-staff Frip provides a number of print finishing services, running Sakurai screen printing lines, Bobst hot foil stamping machines and a variety of laminators. It turned over £6.5m last year.
The new Apprenticeship Levy is due to take effect in April 2017 and is part of a government strategy to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.
Unite the Union recently expressed fears that a significant number of print firms do not realise the Levy is so close to implementation and although Gibson is well aware of it, he said he was yet to fully understand its implications on his business.
“It won’t change the way we plan to structure staff training and the opportunity for apprenticeships moving forward,” he added.