Record breaking awards for the Printing Charity

Winners: Print Futures Awards winners with the judges at the House of Lords.
Winners: Print Futures Awards winners with the judges at the House of Lords.
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A record number of bursaries were handed out by the Printing Charity at its Print Futures Awards ceremony at the House of Lords.

The Print Futures Awards, which are designed to give young people a start in the creative and digital industries, saw 80 applicants this year and a record number of 37 were chosen for the award.

John Wright, chairman of the Printing Charity, said: “It’s incredible how the Print Futures Awards have grown over the recent years. In 2012 there were eight winners, in 2013 there were 17 winners, in 2014 there were 24 and this year a record of 37 winners.”

Despite the record number, the charity is hoping to help even more people next year. Stephen Gilbert, chief executive of the Printing Charity, called on industry representatives to spread the word to even more young people in need of help.

At the ceremony, Mr Gilbert said: “I ask everyone of you to be an ambassador for this charity. First and foremost if you know people who are in need tell them about the Printing Charity.

“Secondly if you walk away from here as enthused as I am, as a judge, by these young people, imagine how much better it would be if you could see somebody that you encouraged, come up and collect their cheque.

“I’ve got a private target, we’ve done 37 this year, I’m asking to make it 50 in 2016.”

The awards, which were launched in 2003, help fund any costs associated with relevant training courses for a career in printing, publishing or graphic arts, and anyone between the ages of 16 and 30 can apply.

Baroness Dean, who was general secretary of the former print union SOGAT, hosted the event at the House of Lords. Baroness Dean said although she had left the printing industry some time ago “once it is in your blood you never get rid of it”.

Winners were presented their awards by Lord Guy Black who is also the vice-president of the Printing Charity. Lord Black said: “The media industry in general is very lucky with the charities that surround it. The Printing Charity but also the work of the Journalists’ Charity, they all do such good work and the Printing Charity with its three Royal Charters is the most venerable of the lot.”

In total eight students out of the 37 were from Yorkshire universities. Emily Hoyland, who has just completed the second year of her BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University, told The Yorkshire Post that she was guided to the awards by her lecturer Sean Dodson.

Ms Hoyland will be using the Print Futures grant to fund her summer placements at Auto Express magazine and the PR department at Mazda UK.

“The opportunity for the internship had already presented itself and at the time I was wondering how I would be able to fund it, so the awards seemed like the perfect opportunity,” she said.

Kemi Alemoru, who studied for a BA in English Language and Linguistics at Sheffield University, said the cheque for £1,500 is a welcome relief for many winners such as herself.

Ms Alemoru, who will use her award to fund an MA in Magazine Journalism, said: “Obviously it’s £9,000 that you’ve got to pay for an MA which is a huge amount of money but I’m already in about £40,000 of debt anyway because of my undergraduate course.

“I thought I’m this unlucky I need to find some funding so I looked around for bursaries and I found this.”

Awards secretary, Terry Ulrick and, the then chief executive of the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), Michael Johnson founded the BPIF Educational Scholarships in 2003, which were then renamed Print Futures Awards in 2009.

Mr Ulrick will step down this year making this his last ever Print Futures Awards. Dr Mark Johnson, who joined the charity earlier in the year, will take over from Mr Ulrick.

Steve Attwill, a regional officer for Unite the Union, was one of the judges for the awards.

He said: “I look for some enthusiasm, I look for some sort of understanding of the values of the industry, in terms of its heritage. I am always interested in them expressing their innovation and their outlook on the industry for the future.”

Mr Attwill said that as the numbers increase each year the judging gets harder. “Every year there is a good standard and it’s always good to see new approaches to old ideas in many ways,” he added.

The awards were supported by the BPIF, the John Crossfield Foundation, St Bride Foundation and Unite the Union.

Genesis: Awards godfather steps down

Terry Ulrick was instrumental in setting up the Print Futures Awards in 2003 and has been awards secretary since. But this is his last year as awards secretary as he hands over the reins to Dr Mark Johnson.

Mr Ulrick said: “It’s important to get good young people in. The standard of these winners is very high indeed, many of them already have more than one degree.”

He advises Dr Johnson to be prepared for a wave of last minute applications. “The problem is that young people leave everything to the last minute and his problem is that all applications come in at the last bloody minute,” he said jovially.