A day in the life of

Apprentice

in association with
Amy Elrington
Client Services Executive Apprentice, Webmart

A day in the life of a Client Services Executive apprentice

My day usually starts at 8.30am but can vary if I am travelling – some days I need to catch the train to London to visit clients and other days I have to prepare to give clients a tour of the office. I aim to start my day by looking at my calendar and prioritising my to do list to form a focus and my days objectives.

When I’m meeting with clients I offer them different ideas of what they can achieve with print and how we can uniquely add value to their businesses. One of the great things is that all our clients will require something different, so I am always learning and working with the team to get more innovative ideas back to the clients.

When I am not working directly with a client, I am always being encouraged to continue with my professional development by reading different articles, researching different courses that I could go on or networking events that can keep me up to date with the industry, which I can then also share with clients – so it’s a win, win!

No day is the same, but knowing that I can take control of my own day, be independent and still have support when I need it is great.

Josh Levett-Thomas
Print Finisher Apprentice, Hobbs

A day in the life of a Print Finisher apprentice

No two days are the same when you’re a print finisher, which is one of the things in the print industry that makes it unique. Before I start my shift I will usually confirm with my supervisor which specific machine I’ll be running for the day. Once this has been confirmed I’ll then be provided with a job plan detailing the jobs that need to be completed and sent out for delivery.

I normally have a discussion with my colleagues to make sure that the work on my list has been prepared and is ready for me to complete. Sometimes it may be down to me to turn it from a flat sheet all the way to a finished book.

Each job has a unique number so I will type that number into our imprint system and print out a works instruction.

The work instruction will provide me with up to date information about the job I’m going to do such as:

– Size of the book

– How many pages the book consists of 

– How it is bound 

– If it requires a cover 

– Where it is being delivered to

Once I have this information I can set up my machine for the job and make the cartons ready to pack as well as the labels.

After I am satisfied that the machine is set and ready to run I ask my supervisor for some assistants to help me with the job.

Having an assistant on the large machines is very beneficial for me as it allows for me to monitor my machine correctly and efficiently.

One or two assistants will load the paper into the machine for binding and another one or two assistants will help me pack the books into boxes. These boxes will then need labels to detail what’s in the box and the box is then stacked.

On job completion the pallet holding the finished job is taken over to the dispatch team to be processed for delivery.

Then it’s on to the next job!!

Alice Murray
Account Manager Apprentice, Hunts

A day in the life of an Account Manager apprentice

I get into the office at 8:30 each morning and make myself and colleagues a cup of tea to start the day! My role as an Account Manager is to ensure that our clients’ needs are attended to satisfactorily and to make the process of ordering print as smooth and stress free as possible.

I provide estimates/quotes to our clients and book in their print jobs. Seeing through client projects gives me the opportunity to see a product develop from an image at the start of the process on the screen, to a final product at the end which is what I love about my job!

My role is customer facing, which includes not only emailing or taking phone calls but also going out to meet different clients face to face.

My apprentice role has allowed me to not only gain confidence but build great relationships with our customers. I find my role is very rewarding with the sense of achievement that is gained from a successful project.

Ryan Cope
Repro Mac Operator Apprentice,
The Sherwood Group

A day in the life of a Repro Mac Operator apprentice

Hi, my name is Ryan Cope and I work for the Sherwood Group as a Repro Mac Operator. The main role of our department is to process customer-supplied files and make sure that they are print ready, then imposing sheets of print to a job specification and outputting lithographic plates for the printing presses.

As an apprentice in this role I came into the repro department with little knowledge about the prepress processes. I gained the knowledge by working with the employees in the department, which allowed me to start processing my own jobs. While working in the repro department you find yourself using a variety of different software like InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Artpro. All of these require you to have the correct knowledge so that you can process the customers’ files correctly.

Once I started in repro I found that mistakes were being made due to my lack of training or knowledge about print, doing an apprenticeship allowed me to gain that knowledge, and helped me develop my skills so that I could output my work to a high standard.

Alex Parkins
Account Manager Apprentice,
Burleigh Portishead

A day in the life of an Account Manager apprentice

Normally, I start my day up at 6:30 – something which took getting used to! Once I have eaten and got showered and dressed I’m ready to go. I begin my half hour drive down to my place of work. 

After I have arrived at work normally the first thing I would do is greet my colleagues and make my office a cup of tea – a necessity before beginning the day! I will then settle down at my desk to check my emails and see what the day has in store. I am treated like any other member of staff and I have responsibilities I need to meet in order to ensure that jobs run smoothly. 

My job as an Account Manager has 3 predominant roles – estimates, booking in jobs and liaising with customers and suppliers. My job is very customer facing so I have to represent my company at all times and always provide a good impression to customers and suppliers alike. 

A quote can range from 250 business cards to a 200 page catalogue. The wide range of work we do in my company means that each day is different and each day brings new challenges. 

I liaise with suppliers on a daily basis, something which I enjoy doing, whether ordering paper or arranging finishing at outworkers. Over time in my apprenticeship I have built up good relationships with suppliers, which is important as we have an equal understanding of the demands that need to be met. 

I go home with satisfaction on a daily basis knowing that I have met customers requirements, expectations and that they are happy – that means I know I’m doing a good job!

Liam Walton
Lithography Printing Apprentice, Galloways Printers Ltd

A day in the life of a Lithography Printing apprentice

Today I got to work at 9am. Paul, the printer I was to be working with had just come to the end of a job and told me I could start the next one. I firstly read the job bag instructions and began to make the job ready. I put the paper in, the plates on and made sure the correct ink was in. I adjusted the press settings before running a sheet to help run as fast and good quality as possible. As I ran the job, Paul watched over me and gave me tips and advice on where I could improve and things I could do differently. I printed two other jobs under Paul’s supervision and learnt a bit more on each one.

At 1.30pm Paul left as it was shift change over and Liam, another printer, took over from him. I carried on printing under the supervision of Liam and he gave me tips and advice. This is good because each printer works in different ways and has their own methods so it’s great to learn from both of them.

Aaron Quinn
Mechanised Print Finisher & Binding Apprentice, Design Xpress

A day in the life of a Mechanised Print Finisher & Binding apprentice

Firstly, no day is the same in the Printing Industry, that’s why I love it so much. Every day is a new challenge for me, coming across different problems and learning a wide range of new skills.

Depending on our daily work schedule, I usually come to work for about 8am. Everybody in the production end of the factory has a small meeting in the morning, discussing what has to be done that day, allocating certain jobs to different people. After the meeting, we start work. Up until 5pm, I could be doing anything from cutting jobs, to laminating, printing or packing. During the working day I do a lot of different things in the factory, which is why I don’t mind it and I never really get bored at work. 5pm is the time our courier comes to collect all of the parcels we are sending out that day.

On the shop floor we can have a chat whilst working and still enjoy being at work, just as long as all the work set for that day gets done. The main aspects of my work are being creative, problem solving and working to a timescale but producing work to a standard promised to our customers. Meeting deadlines and producing work to the standard the customer has requested is our main duty as a Print Finisher.

There is quite a lot of pressure as a Finisher because I have the last say on whether the job is acceptable to be sent, also finishing and packing the job are the last steps of fully completing a job. On the other hand, being able to see work I have produced up in shopping centres or high streets and hearing how happy customers are with their jobs makes me really proud. That’s the main reason I love my Job.

When I left school I was a very ‘hands on’ person and knew I didn’t want to go into further education such as Sixth Form, College, University etc. I didn’t want to sit in a class room all day, that’s why I chose to do an apprenticeship and I have never looked back, learning a trade whilst making money at the same time is probably the best decision I’ve made!

Luke Herbert
Digital Printing Apprentice,
3B Design & Print

A day in the life of a Digital Printing apprentice

I’m usually the first one at my work place in the morning so the first thing I do is turn everything on ready for the day. I clean my printers, dust down my CNC machine and get everything ready that I need for the day. 

I then look at our management website, Trello. On here we keep all the digital job tickets so I can see which jobs need to be completed for that day.  I then organise which ones need to be completed, make a day plan, and get to work. 

I will usually prioritise work, so depending on the work load/client, it will impact my day. If I can help it, I will try and get my Flatbed printer and my Roll Fed printer printing at the same time. This way I can maximise effectiveness and this way I won’t be sitting around doing nothing. (If there are any jobs that need to be cut on the CNC I will set them off too). 

Once the work has been printed, I’ll spend time finishing it. Whether this be laminating, welding, eyeleting, cutting, scoring etc. Once the product is finished, I’ll take a photograph of it as proof that the product is of a good quality. Then I will package it up and send it off to the clients’ address. 

Depending on how much we have cut on the CNC, I will spend quite a lot of time hoovering my work area because dust has a huge impact on my printers and the quality of print they produce. If I don’t hoover, I risk the print being poor quality, missing ink and even damaging the print heads themselves. This is so important, especially when we cut woodwork because the sawdust gets everywhere as you can imagine. 

And that’s my day! In between tasks I’ll tidy, make sure my workplace is organised so I know where everything is but that is a standard day in the life of a digital printing apprentice!

Oliver Willows
Digital Business Administrator Apprentice, BPIF

A day in the life of a Digital Business Administrator apprentice

I joined the BPIF Administration team in April 2015, having left school 2 weeks prior with next to no administrative knowledge. After a few weeks of uncertainty I started to develop the necessary core skills consisting of emailing, constructing documents and dealing with external calls.

Now, nearly a year into being an apprentice in administration I feel confident with most daily tasks I undertake and I am given more opportunities as time goes by. My daily duties involve contacting members and ensuring they are happy with the service being provided, maintaining databases and ensuring information is clear and up-to-date and also coordinating with different departments.

Undertaking a Business Administration Apprenticeship has allowed me to fully understand the fundamental aspects of administration within a business environment, and helped me improve all aspects of my communication skills.

These “Day in the Life” stories are brought to you by the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF). Read more apprentice stories on their website