Retirees and trainees swap tales at Printing Charity event

By Rhys Handley, Wednesday 18 October 2017

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Beaverbrook House, The Printing Charity's home for industry retirees, recently hosted a networking session so that apprentices could meet retired printers.

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Optichrome apprentice James Burton with former stereotyper Alan Pearson, aged 94

Co-ordinated by the BPIF and The Printing Charity (TPC), the event on 5 October was a pilot for what is hoped to be a series of cross-generational networking opportunities. The home in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, has 32 apartments and is fully funded by TPC. 

Apprentices in attendance were Gareth McCorkell from Snap Products in Aldershot, James Burton from Optichrome in Woking, and Aaron Toombs and Jack Carter from BCQ Group in Buckingham.

“We have wanted to do something like this for a long time, and the original idea actually came from our residents,” said TPC chief executive Neil Lovell.

“It was a magical combination of keeping retirees informed about what the industry is like now, as well as giving apprentices a chance to benefit from the wisdom of those who came before them.

“The printing sector must never lose sight of its history and to do that we need to maintain a respect for older generations. A lot can be learned from people of different ages sharing their memories and experiences of the industry.”

An interactive session presented by BPIF training coordinators Howie Blanks and John Campey centred on the transformation of the printing industry over 50 years, while residents were also given the chance to demonstrate how to work an Adana letterpress and attendees saw a modern 3D printer at work.

One of the retirees was Alan Pearson, a former stereotyper who worked for Arnold & Sons in Leeds. Now aged 94, he has worked in the UK as well as internationally.

Lovell added: “Alan’s hearing may be going a bit but his mind is still very much sparking and he is very inquisitive. He loved talking to the apprentices and sharing his own memories.”

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