From bacon rolls to canapés and cava – the benefits of apprenticeships
'Education, education, education' was drummed into me at an early age, and this mantra has helped me get where I am today. I also hear people use the phrase 'grab the bull by the horns' when dispensing advice; in other words, get stuck in and don't be afraid of the risks – this is equally applicable to my story.
Before entering the digital ink-jet industry I worked – temporarily – in a shop, serving customers pies, pasties and bacon rolls. I had a vague idea of my ideal career path, but often life leaves you blind to these opportunities, due to the lack of jobs immediately available, a lack of education or – the eternal issue – a dearth of experience. Little did I know at that point that, a few months down the line, I would have a job working in marketing.
Luckily, I was given an opportunity that has subsequently transformed my life. I was employed part-time as a junior marketing assistant to help IMI Europe with database building. This was only supposed to be a temporary job, but I was then kept on to do a level three apprenticeship in marketing and communications. For me this was ideal; I was able to kill two birds with one stone by acquiring knowledge while simultaneously gaining experience.
After completing my apprenticeship and qualifying, I was employed full-time as a sales and marketing assistant, where I continued my education with a CIM Introductory Certificate in Marketing. I have been handed a lot more responsibility subsequently, as a result of the knowledge and experience that I've gained through my time in the industry. I now travel to European destinations to give on-site help at our events, meeting with new and existing customers, as well as day-to-day activities such as email marketing, website design, lead generation, and other marketing-related tasks. Occasionally my boss even tells me I'm doing a good job!
I was able to kill two birds with one stone by acquiring knowledge while simultaneously gaining experience.
When I first started working for IMI Europe I had no knowledge of the ink-jet industry, so what better way to learn about it than to sit in on our conferences and courses? From listening to experts in their fields give presentations on current market developments and the different types of technologies, it has become clear that the industry is growing quickly and changing rapidly.
Digital ink-jet technology is now used in a wide range of applications, especially industrial ink-jet as a printing or deposition process in manufacturing or production lines. From attending our events, I have learnt about the types of companies, processes, and technologies used today. But most importantly, as with all IMI Europe events, you can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of time to network.
I have learnt – and I'm still learning – so much about the industry and how important education is; but also how lucky I was to be given an opportunity to prove to myself, and others, what I am capable of.
Recently some industry publications have posed the question: should the print industry be employing more people for apprenticeships? The answer is undoubtedly yes. I was given a chance – and perhaps you had a lucky break early in your career too. It is vital that this is passed on and that someone else is given the opportunity to thrive.
If you’ve read this article and you’d like to find out more about IMI Europe’s conferences and courses and how we can help educate you about ink jet, or industry updates, please visit www.imieurope.com.