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The Soap Box

Challenges for the Print Industry

Brendan Perring listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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80 percent of companies who invest in apprentices have reported a significant increase in employee retention

Why we should be hiring more apprentices

Advantages of apprenticeships
Sidney Bobb,

As the year draws to a close, many will spend time reflecting on what really went on in 2016 and consider what will happen in 2017. They will look at their successes during the year, consider any failings, opportunities that proved to be beneficial and, of course areas where they fell short.

One area that has had a major positive impact on companies has been the appointment of apprentices and, with the changes in legislation, this development has become increasingly popular.

Over 130,000 businesses across the UK offer apprenticeship places because they recognise their effectiveness at increasing productivity, improving business performance, and ensuring a committed and competent workforce.

Recruiting apprentices enables employers to fill the skills gaps that exist within their current workforce as apprentices begin to learn sector specific skills from day one

Recruiting apprentices enables employers to fill the skills gaps that exist within their current workforce as apprentices begin to learn sector specific skills from day one—developing specialist knowledge that will positively affect your bottom line. In addition to eager, motivated staff who are committed to on the job training and development, industry research has highlighted numerous direct and indirect benefits of apprenticeships for both recruiting new apprentices and for training your workforce. These include:

• 80 percent of companies who invest in apprentices have reported a significant increase in employee retention

• Three-quarters of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive and productive

• 81 percent of consumers favour using a company which takes on apprentices

• Employers who take on a 16 to 18-year-old apprentice only pay their salary—the Government will fund their training

• 92 percent of employers who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce

• 83 percent of employers who employ apprentices rely on their apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled workers that they need for the future

• One in five employers are hiring more apprentices to help them through the tough economic climate

• 59 percent report that training apprentices is more cost-effective than hiring skilled staff, with 59 percent believing that apprenticeships lead to lower overall training costs, and 53 percent feeling that they reduce recruitment costs

• In terms of the return on investment linked to apprenticeships, 41 percent say that their apprentices make a valuable contribution to the business during their training period, while a further third (33 percent) report that apprentices add value within their first few weeks (or even from day one)

• 57 percent report a high proportion of their apprentices going on to management positions within the company

Apprentice schemes are good for companies, large and small. Setting one up and managing it has now become simpler than ever and should be considered by all business owners. The BAPC is one trade association that can help and all you need to is ask.

Finally, the BAPC wishes its members and everybody in this great industry a Merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful, and profitable New Year.

Supporting people in retirement
Neil Lovell,
chief executive,
The Printing Charity

The Printing Charity is on track this year to support almost 1,500 people. This is more than the total number for 2015 and almost twice as many as in 2014.

Although a large proportion of the increase is in supporting people who are at risk of or have been made redundant, the largest area of our work remains in welfare support for people working in the industry or in their retirement years.

Our two sheltered homes for people who have retired from the industry, Beaverbrook House in Bletchley and Southwood Court in Basildon, are wonderful places for our residents, many of whom have long histories in the sector.

Our two sheltered homes for people who have retired from the industry, are wonderful places for our residents, many of whom have long histories in the sector

Arnold, who is 99, started in print in Hertfordshire as an apprentice aged 14. He worked for 45 years in print as a machine minder at Sidney Press and The Castle Press in Bedford.

Edna’s husband was a lithographic artist whose work involved etching copper plates with acid and then printing onto paper. Like Arnold, he went to work in print aged 14. Edna recalls that he printed a picture for The Doctors’ Journal of the first ever heart operation performed on a baby.

The homes are only one part of our support. The majority of our support is delivered through regular and one-off financial grants. This can include help with home adaptation and mobility to remain independent through to simply enabling someone to keep their house warm and food in the fridge. We are also a supportive voice at the end of the phone.

Peter, one of our beneficiaries, says: “If it wasn’t for The Printing Charity and their financial help and kind words, I know, in my heart of hearts, I would not be here today.”

There is more we can do and as we see increasing signs of financial distress, with one in seven pensioners in the UK living in poverty1 according to Age UK, our aim is to make people aware that we may be able to help.

We are the only dedicated charity for the sector, which is why we need the sector’s help to reach them. If you know of people who have worked in the industry and need help, please encourage them to contact us by emailing Support@theprintingcharity.org.uk or calling our welfare team on 01293 542 820. To find out more, please see www.theprintingcharity.org.uk and follow @printingcharity.

Source: Households Below Average Income 2012/13, Chapter 6, DWP, 2014.

What the Autumn Statement means for print
Charles Jarrold,
chief executive officer,

A business environment that supports competitiveness and growth for our members is always at the forefront of the BPIF's messages to Government, and achieving this was the key theme of our 2017 Autumn Statement representation, made to HM Treasury at the start of last month. As an important economic contributor and employer in all regions of the UK, and with a gross value added £6.1bn for the economy, it is imperative that we have a voice in the decisions made which affect our industry.

We are reassured by the Government’s commitment to invest in research and development—for some of our members, being able to claim tax relief is a real incentive to explore innovative new ways of working, in turn critical for the country’s overall productivity. This was a major theme of our submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement, and we are delighted that these calls have been heard.

We are reassured by the Government's commitment to invest in research and development

Similarly, improving road infrastructure will have welcome benefits for our members up and down the country, as will the continuing freeze on fuel duty.

However, we are disappointed that the Government has missed an opportunity to remove plant and machinery from business rate calculations. As we suggested in our representation, removing this disincentive to invest could have been a significant step towards the Chancellor’s vision of ensuring that businesses are investing.

BPIF members can access documents such as the autumn statement and annual reviews online

Although growth is expected to slow next year, the print industry has time and again proved its resilience. We will do our best to ensure that BPIF members can continue to design, print, and package, and run companies large and small. Print is a strong industry, which knows how to adapt to change and adversity.

The EPIP challenge
Marian Stefani,
chief executive office,

Running an Association is not something I have done before, all my experience has been in commercial sales and marketing, so working with the IPIA has been a very different experience.

I have really enjoyed getting to know the members; they are a diverse group of people and have some interesting businesses, representing the very best of our industry. Working out how we support them as they survive and grow in this new multi-channel world has meant looking at things from a different perspective, which has been challenging and exciting.

Working out how we support them as they survive and grow in this new multi-channel world has meant looking at things from a different perspective

I am convinced that the value of our Association is in the support we give our members and the understanding of the market they sell into.  I have always believed that the print industry lacks the ability to really sell and position itself and this has meant that we have allowed marketeers and buyers to drive the value of print down as they perceive digital to be cheaper and more effective. This is just not the case and so we have decided that the IPIA will make the education of these buyers a real priority. We will promote print and challenge the way it is purchased, used and valued at every opportunity.

Earlier this year we ran our first Everything is Possible In Print (EPIP) Conference. This conference showcases print and we invited brands and buyers to hear how we should use print to support the integrity and confidence of communications. Rory Sutherland was the keynote speaker and he was well supported by a host of experts supporting that same message.

We proved the idea last year with 75 percent of the audience commenting they want more information from the print industry about how to use and procure print and so we are running it again in April 2017. And we want to invite the entire print industry to support us with this event—not by attending, there are lots of great events already for printers looking to learn—but by inviting brands to get involved.

We have lots of sponsorship packages available and would like our friends and supporters within the industry to help us with the challenge of inviting marketeers, buyers, and anyone who uses print to attend. So are you up for the EPIP challenge?

Public Notice:

  • 57 percent report a high number of apprentices going on to management roles
  • The Printing Charity has two homes for people who have retired from print
  • Print has time and again proved its resilience
  • Join the IPIA’s EPIP Challenge and restore print’s value

Find out more by visiting www.ipia.org.uk/epip-challenge/. Or contact us on 01785 253796 or marian@ipia.org.uk

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