The awards, run by the Printing Charity, look to help young people, aged 18 to 30, pay for training.
Out of a total of 115 applicants who have been interviewed, 34 came from the region. Therefore, the charity decided to bring judging for the awards to Leeds.
Neil Lovell, chief executive of the Printing Charity, said: “It’s the first time that we’ve come to Leeds.
“It has been held over two days here because it’s the first time we’ve really seen an increase in the number of applications from in and around the area.
“We’re a national charity so we wanted to make a really strong statement as well that we’re really keen to engage with businesses outside of London, in particular in the Yorkshire region.
“It’s such a hub of businesses that are either directly connected to print and communications or part of the supply chain.”
Applicants who are successful will receive a grant of up to £1,500 as well as their award at a ceremony hosted in London.
Judges were impressed by the standard of entries with young people varying from apprentices at traditional printing companies to data specialists putting forward a strong case for support.
The Print Futures were established in 2003 by the late Terry Ulrick and Michael Johnson as the BPIF (British Printing Industries Federation) Educational Scholarships.
They were then renamed Print Futures Awards in 2009.
The purpose of the awards is to encourage more young people to progress their careers in print-related industries, with the sector struggling to plug the skills gap while facing an ageing workforce.
Mr Lovell said: “It is a problem encouraging young people and the industry needs to do more.
“We all need to do more, if not we’re losing out on really brilliant young people and the next generation of talent.
“I’m pleased to say that it is alive and well in Yorkshire because we have seen some incredibly brilliant and inspirational young people doing some great jobs during the interviews we’ve done.”
In addition to hosting face-to-face interviews in Leeds and London, the Printing Charity also held interviews over Skype for applicants in Scotland. During the interviews, applicants were given the opportunity to put forward a case for why they should receive support as well as facing questions from judges from within the industry.
Mr Lovell said the standard of entries was a lot higher than in previous years.
“What we have had is slightly lower numbers of actual applications but higher numbers going through,” he said. “That’s because we’ve seen greater standards in the applications.”
A reception will be held in London for all the final winners on July 24.
Building better business links
The Printing Charity has placed greater emphasis on establishing links with businesses.
“We would still love to hear from more small-sized businesses in the print communications sector, in and around Yorkshire,” Neil Lovell said.
The charity is urging these small businesses to keep an eye open for next year’s Print Futures Awards.
Mr Lovell added: “We know in those organisations they will have young people for whom some support through Print Futures would really help them.”
For more information on the Printing Charity visit: https://www.theprintingcharity.org.uk/