What is a printing industry?
It is an industry that is usually involved in the printing of text or images on paper with ink and is done using a printing press. These texts or images may be printed into a book, journal, newspaper, pamphlet, banner e.t.c.
Jobs in the printing industry
The printing process happens in a sequence of steps and each of these steps is carried out by a specialist or a specific person. These sub-processes in the printing industry create employment opportunities for many people and among the opportunities available in the industry includes;
1. Typists These are employees who are responsible for data entry, that is, they read information from a source and input it into a computer.
2. Editors These are the people who ensure that the print is error-free and that there are no typos or typing errors in the print. They usually accomplish this by proofreading or going through the work done by typists in order to identify the errors.
3. Graphic designers These are professionals who are responsible for designing the print. That is they determine how the images and the texts will look on the print.
4. Artists These are the professionals who are responsible for creating visual concepts that are used to communicate to the people reading the print. Their work is more often like that of graphic designers.
5. Press operators These are people who review the material to be printed before the print run is done. The operator is also responsible for operating the printing machine and adjusting the plates.
6. Bindery workers These are usually at the last step of the printing process. Once the print has been produced by the printing press the bindery workers then combine the single printed pages into the final product which may be a book, magazine, brochure, catalogue e.t.c.
7. Extra workers These are more often referred to as miscellaneous workers since they do not relate directly to the printing process but are useful since they support the process. These include printing industry managers, secretaries, human resource managers, customer support, sales and marketing personnel, accountants e.t.c
Why are print industries less likely to take apprentices?
From the above list of job opportunities available in the printing industry, we can say that the printing industries have many employment opportunities, especially for fresh job seekers. Although some of the jobs in the printing industry do require a prior educational background and computer skills e.g. graphics designers, editors, managers e.t.c, most of the jobs are learned on-site jobs. This means that most of the jobs in the printing industry do not require prior education as one learns while doing the job either by being trained by a person who is already doing the job or through observation. Although this is usually the case many printing industries do not take apprentices. Many companies cite a number of reasons why they do not take apprentices and this includes;
1. Cost Many printing industries are in the rush to make profits. Companies are therefore trying to reduce the production or the operational costs in order to maximize the profits. Human labor force is considered as an aspect of production cost and hence many companies want to minimize the amount spent in paying employees and therefore go for already skilled labor as they consider apprentices as unnecessary expenses.
2. Time The competition is stiff between the companies in the printing industry and therefore different companies are employing various strategies to beat others out of the market. Among the strategies employed by the various companies in the printing industry is the reduction of the time taken in the entire printing process. Apprentices need to learn on the job and are slow in carrying out tasks and many companies are not willing to sacrifice their precious time in training unskilled labor.
3. Fear of the unknown Many companies in the printing industries are reluctant to take apprentices as they are not sure about the learning capabilities and attitudes of the apprentices. Many fear that the apprentices may not have the capacity to learn and gain the skill required to do set tasks. Others fear that after spending time on training the apprentices some may change their attitude about the job and hence become less productive once the skill has been impacted on them and this would result in wasting of the companies resources.
4. Poaching Many printing industries do not take apprentices as they fear that after spending resources on training apprentices, many may opt to move to a different company where there is better pay and terms. This would result in the loss of resources and also the now skilled apprentice may give a company's trade secrets to a competitor.
5. There is no enough work for apprentices Apprentices learn mostly by working alongside skilled workers in a specific step of the printing process. Printing industries cite the fact that there will be no enough work for the apprentices once they have acquired the skill as the previous skilled employees will still be working in their respective areas as a major reason for not taking apprentices.
6. Most journeypersons may not be willing or good at training apprentices Many printing companies say that the journeypersons, that is the skilled staff required to impact the working skills on the apprentice may not be willing to train the apprentices or may not have good teaching skills. This may be as a result of the attitude of the apprentice or the journeyperson may develop a negative attitude towards the apprentice. They also see the apprentices as competitors to their jobs and hence may be reluctant to offer the skills to them so as to ensure their own job security.
Most of the jobs available in the printing industry do not require a prior educational background as they can be learned on the job through an apprenticeship. Over time apprenticeships have been seen to bring more benefits to a company than hiring already skilled personnel. These benefits include increased employee retention, enhanced staff skills, successful company future, improved product quality e.t.c. Although many printing companies site many reasons as to why they do not take apprentices the benefits of taking apprentices outweigh the reasons and hence many should see the need to embrace it.