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IPIA kickstarts careers of young people in print

apprentice taking selfie at exhibition
Kickstart has contributed positively to the industry and specific members, as well as changed the perception of print among some young people
In 2021, the Independent Print Industry Association (IPIA) became a pioneering gateway for its members to benefit from the Government’s Kickstart scheme; it even shaped the way the programme was administered. It helped place 33 young people with 25 members and today, more than 80% of them have permanent positions in the printing sector.

“Our industry has a skilled but ageing workforce and often struggles to recruit young people at a roots level. Through Kickstart, we feel very proud to have not just contributed tangibly to the sector but also helped transform the lives of some bright young people who otherwise were facing long term unemployment,” says Brendan Perring, General Manager of the IPIA.  

The IPIA itself created two Kickstart roles, taken up by young women called Kaci Cole and Bidhya Rai, who are being trained in graphic design and having their eyes opened to the scope of print.

“They’ve loved it, got a real buzz from it, which tells me that the industry is an exciting prospect for young people, it just needs more work by us, other trade associations and the industry in general to sell it to the next generation,” suggests Brendan.

Kaci’s already convinced about print and describes it as ‘flamboyant and exciting and a lot bigger than she first thought’. Both she and Bidyha agree that their time with the IPIA is giving them confidence, and a supportive and understanding environment in which to progress their skills. “It’s been a very good overall experience for me, and I feel lucky to have found such a good organisation,” says Bidyha.

Lucy Swanston created a marketing assistant role for a Kickstarter at her agency Nutshell Creative. She says: “I feel very passionate about getting young people into our industry and upskilling them and think the IPIA did an amazing thing acting as a collective gateway to enable small businesses like mine to benefit from this national initiative; we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Dan Bristow, Director of Clear As Day echoes Lucy’s thoughts, reporting it had been a great scheme and super beneficial at enabling him to grow his company when times were hard during the pandemic. He says it’s also proved a good opportunity for young people like Hugo Mercer, who started at his firm in April 2021 and who is now permanent, and also for George Bennett, who was still on his 6-month Kickstart placement.

Stockport-based IPIA member, Spectrum Print and Plastics, signed up to the scheme in Spring 2021 with Michael and Daryl Dalrymple-Owen. Managing Director, Kath Doran, is always exploring what else they can do in addition to work experience and apprenticeships to get young people into the industry. KIckstart came at a difficult time during Covid-19 and was not a big financial commitment. “It’s overall been a good thing. Our Jobcentre was marvellous at vetting candidates and full marks to Brendan and the IPIA for shielding us from some of the administrative challenges of being an early adopter,” she says.

The IPIA member that initially proposed the idea of an IPIA Kickstarter consortium was Lance Hill, Managing Director of Eight Days a Week Print Solutions (EDWPS). When the scheme came out, his firm was getting busier and it seemed the perfect opportunity to give someone the chance to come off universal credit. He says they have struck gold in the two individuals he took on in April 2021. He claims Callum Draycott and Sam Riley have made massive differences to his business, they’ve given him the additional capacity he needed and two extra pairs of hands. 

Lance says: “Kickstart was one of the few positive things to come out of Covid. It was a good idea and well incentivised. It was always my intention to create a career path for a young person and we’ve done it for two people. At interview, both lads saw print as a dull and dying media form but now see it as slick and clever, using data and technology to drive customer communications.”

All in all, the IPIA Kickstart gateway has achieved what it set out to do. It has contributed positively to the industry and specific members, as well as changed the perception of print among some young people. Now that the momentum has been started, the Association is keen to build on it.

More information about the IPIA can be found at ipia.org.uk

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