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Bell and Bain set an example for print

One of Scotland’s oldest printers has secured the future of its workforce and set an example for the UK print industry, by introducing two new apprentices to the firm with an aim of developing them into expert print production professionals.

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(L to R) Fiona Buchanan and Louise Docherty have embarked on a career in the print industry after becoming an apprentice at one of the oldest printers in the UK

Founded in 1831, Bell and Bain print independent books and journals, and is also a binder. The print outfit has recently introduced two new female apprentices to the print industry, with one being the managing director’s daughter.

Fiona Buchanan and Louise Docherty, daughter of managing director Stephen Docherty, are both graduates from university, and decided that a career in the print industry was an exciting challenge after leaving education. Buchanan studied a degree in History at the University of Strathclyde, and Docherty completed a degree Cell Biology at the University of Stirling.

Buchanan explained: “When I graduated, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a degree like medicine, where the job is waiting for you, so I expressed an interest in learning about the print industry through a family connection, and was delighted to be asked by one of the managers at Bell and Bain to come in for a chat.

When I graduated, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a degree like medicine, where the job is waiting for you, so I expressed an interest in learning about the print industry through a family connection

“At first, I was a bit daunted by the technical side of it,” continues Buchanan, and adds: “but I set about learning as much as I could, and before too long I was offered an apprenticeship. I’m loving the experience and want to understand, and maybe even master as many aspects of the print trade as possible.”

Docherty graduated with her father watching on, and it was her dad who suggested that she come and work with him at Bell and Bain. She explains: “I’ve got some big shoes to fill, because my brother was here last year, and he won the Apprentice of the Year award, so I’m eager to show I can learn. 

“The opportunity has arisen for me to manage our Estimating and Costing Department, as well as stock control of paper, which is a huge part of the business. I am hoping that together with my small team, I can grow it into an outstandingly efficient function of the Bell and Bain operation.”

Docherty adds: “I think entering the print industry apprenticeship is the best decision I’ve ever made and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can of the whole print and finishing business, especially the production side. I want to be in a position where I can, one day, surpass my Dad. That’s the ambition, anyway.”



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