Print and printed packaging apprenticeship

The printing industry produces a wide and varied spectrum of products ranging from the obvious – newspapers, books and magazines – to the less obvious – money, passports, signage and printed packaging.

This diverse industry serves central and local government, financial services, retailing, distribution, travel and tourism and the manufacturing industry.

The industry has a long history of apprenticeships and these have developed over time to cater for the rapid changes in both products and technology. The industry continues to be very fast moving and increasingly relies on new, cutting-edge technologies. It is essential to have new people entering the industry who have a good understanding of current computer-based technologies and are able and willing to respond and adapt to changing demands and processes.

Your job will vary greatly according to your employer’s business. There are a variety of roles available but they are all split into three main areas: pre-press, printing and finishing.

Pre-press tends to be mainly computer and office-based, and both printing and finishing are highly practical and skilled areas of work. Occupations range from entry-level machine assistant, trainee operator, trainee bookbinder, carton manufacturer and design or reprographic assistant to experienced machine printer, pre-press operator or graphic designer.

Other opportunities exist in technical fields such as packaging technologists, web publication designers and desk-top publishing editors.

In all areas you must have an eye for detail and be able to complete work to the highest standards. Companies of all types and sizes across the country rely on their printed products to ‘sell’ their products and services. Poorly printed products have a direct effect on their business, therefore your role in the printing industry is crucial.

Some printing processes are automated and others are carried out by hand. You may be required to work in a factory-based environment. Overtime, shift work and weekend working may also be required by some employers.

For more information about careers in the printing industry please visit or


Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3)

Starting salary (once qualified):


Job roles:

Design/reprographic assistant, Machine printer, Graphic designer

Issuing Authority:

Proskills UK Ltd – email