Print Scotland used its third annual Scottish Print Apprentice of the Year Awards to issue a call to the region’s print businesses to embrace apprenticeships.
Robert Scott, a digital artwork operator at Richardson & Son of Hawick in the Scottish Borders, was crowned the overall winner at the apprentice awards, which took place at the end of April.
Print Scotland director Garry Richmond said Scott was “probably the best pre-press guy we've had in recent years. He's on top of all of the software, learns very quickly, is skilled and dedicated and never lets his employer down.”
Other winners were Level 2 post-press apprentice James McCredie and Level 2 press apprentice James Taylor, both at Bell & Bain in Glasgow.
Level 3 pre-press apprentice William Little at Service Graphics, Level 3 post-press apprentice Daniel Johnstone at Tradeprint and Level 3 press apprentice Martin Maclean at Love & Humphries also won prizes.
As well as honouring the nation’s apprentices, Richmond used the awards, which were relaunched in 2016, to highlight the need for more apprentices to enter the industry.
He said that the trade body was currently supporting 25 apprentices, but that there were no more than 30 in total in Scotland.
“Scottish industry needs 25,000 apprentices a year and given the succession gap in print we need 100 a year. My guess is we would get no more than 50.
“An MP told me recently that companies that have been around for several years are facing the same problem: 70% of their workforce is due to retire in a little over 10 years.”
He added: “Since the sad demise of the colleges, organisations like ours and the BPIF are vital. So too are awards like these to raise the profile of our modern, dynamic industry.”
Richmond added that though the print industry in Scotland was in need of young blood, it was demonstrating slow but steady signs of growth year-on-year.
“Already this year our members have taken on three more apprentices than last year.”
Print Scotland provides training for modern apprentices through the Scottish Training Scheme, which provides a grant from the Scottish government.
It also provides a range of Scottish vocational qualifications (SVQs) as well as modern apprenticeship (MA) certification.