Print technician

Occupation overview

In a technologically-advanced and fast-changing industry, Print Technicians are responsible for effective physical reproduction of artistry, designs and projects to meet the practical needs of both customer and business. The printing industry plays a central role in marketing and communications, providing a physical product which is closely integrated into the multi-channel, multi-media and digital landscape.

 A  Print Technician produces a range of printed goods. They can efficiently and safely operate print machinery and equipment to produce print products according to the order specification and make sure it is produced on time. To do this they will need to know the different types of print materials and technologies, so they can make sure that standards including colour matching, print resolution, customer specification and individual company standards are met. In carrying out their role they know how to and can produce risk assessments and safely handle hazardous materials to ensure a safe working environment that complies with health safety and environmental requirements at all times. To manage the production process they are able to keep accurate records using both digital and manual processes as required and can communicate and work effectively with others, including giving clear instructions to colleagues. They can operate complex machinery in the part of the production process for their specific job role and use their technical judgement to optimise production, maintain machinery and to resolve production problems and improve performance.

It is normal for Print Technicians to be employed at some stage in some or all of these roles within the industry. In general, they are expected to take responsibility for producing a job or order from the client, by taking the information received and operating the specific types of machinery on which they have been trained. A Print Technician may also be required to supervise other operatives and so may have the opportunity to develop appropriate supervisory and management techniques.

A qualified Print Technician can apply their core skills and knowledge to develop into careers in production, sales and management in the UK and worldwide print.

The Print Technician will have a strong core of knowledge covering the print production process, including paper science, pre-press, press and post-press, and will specialise and supplement this core knowledge by following one of the three options; Pre-Press Technician, Press Technician or Post-Press Technician.

Skills

Competent to do the following:

  • Efficiently operate print machinery and equipment according to the order specification and timescale e.g. print a colour magazine onto paper within 2 hours to meet the production schedule; fold a leaflet to specification and timeframe.
  • Follow a structured approach and methodology to identify areas for improvement, proposing and implementing solutions.
  • Carry out work to required quality standards, targets and deadlines. Standards include colour matching, print resolution and matching customer specification and individual company standards
  • Keep accurate records using both digital and manual processes as required.
  • Comply with health, safety and environmental requirements at all times. This includes the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (e.g. produce risk assessments and safely handle hazardous materials).
  • Communicate and work effectively with others, including giving clear instructions to colleagues.
  • Implement practical solutions in a timely manner.
  • Ability to supervise and instruct print operatives. Ability to take the lead as required.

Knowledge

Understanding of the following:

  • The printing and graphic communication industry and its markets.
  • How the organisations in the printing industry work, including their culture, values, processes and how you fit in.
  • Technical knowledge and print industry practices, processes & the materials used to carry out the occupation effectively, e.g. practices can include maintenance and continuous improvement; processes include printing, quality assurance and colour management; materials include mainly paper and board, but also plastic, metal and other materials.
  • Pre-press, press and post-press processes and equipment and the commercial impact of their role e.g. ensuring that printed material is presented to post-press in perfect condition.
  • Customers’ expectations in terms of order specification and timescales.
  • Quality expectations and how they are managed.
  • The print and graphic communications industry health, safety and environmental requirements and laws, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • How best to solve problems and implement practical solutions in a timely manner.

Behaviours

  • Willing to both listen and learn. Be dependable, reliable and flexible. Perform role in a safe manner by following company policies and guidelines.
  • Work effectively with others in a team. Carry out work with integrity and discretion. Work with others to create improvements. Work with other departments and teams to provide support of a technical nature as required.
  • Open to new ideas, i.e. new technologies and working practices.
  • Follow process and procedures to ensure that work meets specifications. Report consistently and accurately.
  • Communicate effectively and recognises the importance of good communication.

Options – To complete this standard, an apprentice must also complete one option: Pre-Press Technician, Press Technician or Post-Press technician.

Entry Requirements

Apprentices must achieve level 2 English and Maths prior to taking their endpoint assessment.

Duration

Typically 3 years.

Professional Qualifications/Recognition

This is a level 3 apprenticeship.

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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