The Printing Charity has released the findings of its first major Impact Report, commissioned to enable it to better understand the needs of its beneficiaries and the industry it represents.
More than 100 people drawn from the charity’s staff, trustees, beneficiaries and industry partners gave their views through a combination of interviewee-led, semi-structured interviews and surveys.
As well as supporting people facing financial and emotional crisis, the charity actively champions the innovation driving the sector, promoting the industry and the roles and disciplines it offers to young people.
Its focus is on industry initiatives that provide clear pathways into employment as well as career development for those already working in the sector.
The report found there is a demand from young people and the sector for the charity’s education role encompassing its education initiatives with industry partners, its championing of the sector as a career choice, and its Print Futures Awards initiative.
Raising the industry’s profile was identified by industry partners – comprising companies in the packaging, publishing, print and paper sectors – as one of the top six activities they considered important for the charity.
Partners also saw the charity’s role as needing to be equally focused on supporting experienced workers going through transition as it is on attracting new people to the sector.
The findings also showed that 64% of the charity’s industry partners take on interns or apprentices while 53% engage with school-age students.
Of the residents of the charity’s sheltered homes that were surveyed, 100% said they feel safer, 93% said they are happier, 93% said they feel support is on hand and 70% said their basic living standards had improved.
Six Print Futures Awards winners also answered a set of questions about the experience and the difference an award made to them.
83% of respondents said they are now working full-time in the sector – an increase from 67% at the application stage, 50% said it had furthered their career and 50% said it made them more confident in their role at work.
Furthermore, 67% said they feel more confident about their future in the print sector and 50% said they have a better understanding of how the industry works.
The charity said it will build on the initial findings of the report to inform its future activities and plans to now carry out a formal evaluation every three to four years, as well as its own internal evaluation annually.
Chief executive of The Printing Charity Neil Lovell said: “Some of the information we got back reinforced what we already hoped was the case, for example the response from the residents in our sheltered homes who said they felt more secure and safe as a result of being there. We learned a great deal about the importance of our sheltered homes for our residents.
“And the fact that we’ve got people who will talk to our beneficiaries on the phone, and that can actually understand what’s happening in their lives, is a really important element to an occupational charity because it means we can then try and find the right way to help them.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say that there have been fundamental shifts in our thinking or any groundbreaking or earth-shattering findings in a sense, other than to keep ourselves very accessible because people appreciate you being at the other end of the phone.
“And with younger people, so much of it is about networking and being able to access people in the industry to help them. If you’ve got a buddy or somebody looking out for you, that’s really powerful.”