Charity puts focus on small firms

A leading industry charity is once again looking to help more young people boost their careers in print related sectors.

Winners of the Print Futures Awards 2017.

The Printing Charity, which has strong ties to Yorkshire businesses and the region’s education sector, has once again launched its Print Futures Awards.

The charity says this year it is focusing on attracting more young people working in the industry. In particular, it is hoping for more applications from young people working at small firms.

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The Print Futures Awards provides grants of up to £1,500 to help people aged 18 to 30 years to pay for training.

Neil Lovell, chief executive of The Printing Charity, said: “Since 2009 the annual Print Futures Awards have helped 236 young people train and progress their careers in the industry.

“This year our focus is on attracting more applications from people working in the industry, particularly those in UK-based SMEs, as well as apprentices and those studying for NVQs.”

Last year the Printing Charity handed out 78 bursaries, as part of the scheme, to young people aiming to establish a career in the creative and digital industries.

The Printing Charity saw an increase in the number of applications from those working at businesses and Mr Lovell is encouraging young people at small firms to throw their hat in the ring.

“Last year we saw an increase in the number of people who were working in businesses,” he said.

“It’s a great way of showing the good work young people are doing.”

Mr Lovell says it’s a bigger challenge for SMEs to get young people into their business.

He added: “We really want to encourage the small businesses across the Yorkshire area. There are a number of small businesses who have young people doing great things.

“The sector is dominated by SMEs and that’s why it’s important that we encourage them.”

Yorkshire is a key region for the creative and digital industries. “Yorkshire has a strong history in this sector,” Mr Lovell said.

The awards in 2017 attracted a record 275 applications, with 78 young people being announced winners.

Despite the record numbers last year, Mr Lovell said the emphasis will be on quality and not quantity. “For us it’s not necessarily about making the numbers go up year on year,” Mr Lovell said.

Instead it’s about making sure the quality of the award entries keep going up, he added.

The Print Futures Awards were established in 2003 by Terry Ulrick and Michael Johnson as the BPIF Educational Scholarships. They were then renamed Print Futures Awards in 2009.

At last year’s awards ceremony, tributes were paid to Mr Ulrick who passed away.

The awards are designed to get more young people into the industry.

Applications for the Print Futures Awards this year will close at midnight on April 29.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in London in early June by a panel of judges drawn from across the industry sectors and winners will receive their awards in London in July.