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Kat Kelly is an English and pastoral care teacher at Holyrood Secondary School in the South Side of Glasgow.  During Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019, she spent an afternoon at J Thomson Colour Printers to find out more about their work experience and apprenticeship programmes, and the benefits they are bringing to young people.

As a pastoral care teacher, I often find myself recommending employment and training opportunities to young people, so I wanted to find out exactly what goes on behind the scenes.

Our school is in the fortunate position, alongside our friends at Govan High School, to be in the midst of forming a new business partnership with J Thomson Colour Printers Ltd. This partnership will offer our young people the chance to go on site tours and apply for work experience placements and apprenticeships. This kind of link with local businesses is vital to ensure we develop the young workforce in our school.

During my visit, I was struck by how varied the roles can be. There is the sales and customer service team who manage customers, and there is an admin team who are responsible for orders, purchase notes, invoices etc. Then there are those in graphic design who work on pre-press using Apple Macs. There is also a print team, a warehouse distribution team and a finance team. It was fascinating to see first-hand how busy the office and warehouse are and to realise that so many people, in a multitude of different roles, ensure the company's success. 

The printing industry one that is looking for fresh faces. Apprenticeships are mainly in manufacturing and follow guidelines from Print Scotland who are recognised training providers. This ensures the apprenticeship scheme is robust and regularly evaluated, and that those involved are supported by a mentor and assessor. There are so many benefits to the apprenticeship programme - the salary is competitive, there are offices across Scotland and the role is interesting and varied.

Armed with my new knowledge and first-hand experience, I am looking forward to what is sure to be a hugely successful business partnership between Holyrood and J Thomson Colour Printers Ltd.