Print4Printers was exhibiting its online quoting and ordering system for no-carbon-required print including set books and pads for the print trade. Managing director Matt Kent came away resolved to take on more youngsters after speaking to training providers such as Proskills and learn2print.

Kent said: “Apprentices generally have more direction on where they want to go and are looking for a career rather than just any old vacancy. I have been speaking to training experts on how to implement a more serious apprenticeship programme.”

This involved contacting local schools to flag up the trade as well as Print4Printers, which was launched in January as a sister company to eight-staff Ripley Printers. Kent already employs two apprentices, NVQ 3 designer Andy Beauchamp and NVQ 2 print finisher Eric Booth.

“This is a young business and the idea is to bring people through to systemise the skills base in the business while training people up.”

Kent aims to recruit two to four apprentices in print production and administration. The two businesses have a combined turnover of £500,000, and North Print & Pack yielded 54 potential customers for the web company, which is taking two to three orders a day, he said.

Ripley Printers has two two-colour Heidelberg Quickmaster 46 machines, an Edelman Junior Print and a two-colour Super Web business forms machine. Clients include print managers and printers focusing on one area and contracting out other work such as textbooks.

“We went to the show to demonstrate to printers how we are able to produce and deliver NCR books and pads in a more cost effective way than printers producing them in-house,” said Kent.

“While at the show I went to the PrintIT awards and spoke in depth to a number of apprenticeship training providers who helped me to better understand the benefits of long-term apprenticeship programmes.”