An apprentice’s ‘tail’

I have always had an interest in design and print, I studied Graphic Design at college. I had a part time job at a small printers during my studies and it is through this that I gained an insight into the printing industry. Upon return from travelling I saw the advertisement of an apprenticeship at Design and Print Solutions, I applied and was successful. I have since completed my Level 2 and am currently working on my Level 3 apprenticeship.  

My apprenticeship can be challenging at times as there is a lot of work involved. I have to go through every unit trying to provide evidence that I understand it. I also have to provide photographic evidence, having to ask people to take photos of me doing my job. It can feel like a photoshoot sometimes! Having to try and fit this in during our busy periods can be a struggle but I manage. However, I find this all very rewarding as I can see the progression that I have made throughout my time at Design and Print Solutions. I really enjoy doing job training with my line manager, Luke. It’s great to have someone to show me how to do something from start to finish.

I really enjoy the variety my apprenticeship gives me. 20% of my time is allocated to the coursework. In this time I have to do things like writing reports based around the print industry to show my level of understanding. I received a starter pack at the beginning with all the units and workbooks that I would need to work through as I progressed. I keep all of my paperwork in a folder as evidence of completion. This has given me a good level of knowledge on printing and the industry as a whole. The other 80% of my time is all around job training, which I really enjoy and have learnt a great deal. Some of the units that I have to complete are working with the print presses, maintenance of the print presses and even the way I communicate with my colleagues. The best thing about my apprenticeship is that all the work is to be completed in the workplace, I have not had to do any classroom based training. I learn better by being hands on, I feel it sinks in better this way.  

The apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to start a new skill from the beginning and I am learning straight away. I get to work with people who have experience within different types of printing industries, meaning I get to learn from their experiences as well as my own. From talking to and learning from others, it has helped me to gain more confidence in my role but also in myself. Undertaking this apprenticeship has helped me kick start my career within the industry. It has also led to me having a permanent position at Design and Print Solutions. I had no interest in going to University to continue my education, but the apprenticeship was an alternative way to start my career and fits my way of learning perfectly. I feel really lucky to have been given this opportunity. It is a constant learning process, it’s a great feeling to be able to come to work and actually enjoy it! It is very rewarding, I am constantly motivated to learn more and there is a great diversity of techniques to learn. 

I think having an apprenticeship position has benefited Design and Print Solutions. It shows that the business is willing to diversify and give someone the opportunity to do something that they may not have thought of as a career choice. As an apprentice you are continually learning the latest techniques, I can bring these back to the team which will help the business’ progression. Everything I am learning is current and up to date.  

To anybody thinking about taking up an apprenticeship I would tell them to be willing to learn. The workload may seem daunting but as long as you prepare yourself you will manage just fine. Have an open mind and take onboard any advice you are given. But most importantly don’t be scared to make mistakes, you will learn a lot from them.

Lewis Parnaby