BPIF chief executive Kathy Woodward said: “Response to the launch has been fantastic: we have over 250 delegates signed up to the programme and are well on our way to creating a real cross company forum for our young managers.

“The breadth of companies participating and the support from every level of management has excelled my expectations.”

Content of the two-year course is tailored to the print industry and structured to enable managers and technical specialists to develop management skills and knowledge within their organisations while continuing their full-time roles.

The mentored programme consists of eight compulsory modules and eight optional modules leading to an Institute of Leadership and management level 5 Diploma in management (NVQ) and principles of leadership and management (VRQ).

Keynote speaker DC Thomson & Co chief executive Ellis Watson urged delegates at the launch to go that extra mile and be “just that bit better and enthusiastic, dynamic and candid in the workplace”, as learners were introduced to their mentors and the programme.

The course is being jointly funded with help from the government’s employer ownership programme (EOP) after the BPIF secured £1.1m of funding last year.