Just ask long-time Leeds resident Paul Barstow, whose family has worked for the same Bradford-based company, Sun Branding Solutions, for the past 90 years.
Born and bred in Yorkshire, Mr Barstow followed in his father Jack’s footsteps to pursue a career in packaging graphics at Gilchrist Brothers, which later became Sun Branding Solutions.
“Back then, it was very common to pursue the same career that your father did. Joining the same company that he did and getting involved in the packaging industry just seemed to be the natural choice for me,” Mr Barstow recalled.
He first joined the company as an apprentice colour etcher.
His job was to print colour designs on to the metal surfaces of copper plates. Of course, work wasn’t the high tech, office-based environment that it is now. Meticulously drawing and crafting illustrations and metal engravings by hand were among the company’s strengths.
The 1980s posed particular challenges for Leeds, as the city was rapidly modernised. Mr Barstow said: “There is so much history in Leeds.
“It’s a city that has been able to preserve that side of itself, while also being able to create a modern lifestyle for the next generation – and will hopefully continue to do so.”
Technology has driven the bulk of the change. Reflecting on his 41 years at Sun Branding Solutions, and his father’s 49 years, Mr Barstow said it hardly felt like more than a decade.
But if there’s one thing about his experience that Mr Barstow appreciates the most, it’s the people.
He added: “The people around me are the most important thing.
“I feel privileged to be able to live in such a kind and supportive community, and to work with such clever, funny and wonderful people.”