The printed folding carton maker was singled out for praise for its “outstanding contribution” in training up four apprentices. One of them, repro apprentice Becky Timson, is in line for the apprentice of the year award from the college.

Timson, along with CAD apprentice Jamie Skipper and print apprentices Joe Jacklin and Daniel Cunningham are training for NVQ 3 qualifications and spend one day a month in college while learning on the job, with regular visits from lecturers.

“Like other companies we have an ageing workforce in the print department, and the industry is limited on where you can learn new skills,” said human resources advisor Louise Webster. “We needed to develop internally, plan for retirements and put in place succession planning.

“We feel apprentices are the way forward for us because print skills are so hard to come by these days; you can’t get a die cutter, gluer or print operator unless you go to a competitor – those people just aren’t in the market and we have to train and develop within.”

Webster said college training helped round off workplace learning. While Benson Group provided crucial on-the-job experience, it was as important to have off-site learning to provide wider experiences and understanding, she said. The company may take on four more trainees next year.

Leicester College business delivery manager Beena Pattni said: “Our aim is to educate and train people to form the backbone of the national and local workforce. Benson Group gives essential support, consistently offering employment to young people and training.”

Benson Group has four production sites and boasts annual sales in excess of £120m. Clients include food-product manufacturers and companies in healthcare and consumer care markets.

Pictured above, left to right: Group prepress manager James Lockett, apprentices Jamie Skipper, Becky Timson, Joe Jacklin and Daniel Cunningham, and Bardon print manager Gary Ingram.