We are delighted to be proudly participating in National Apprenticeship Week, joining businesses nationwide in a week-long celebration that highlights the invaluable impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses, and the broader economy. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Skills for Life’.
In light of National Apprenticeship Week, we took the opportunity to connect with some of our current apprentices to delve into how our apprenticeship programme empowers individuals to acquire skills that last a lifetime, contributing significantly to our workforce and business growth.
At Reflex, our primary focus is to print quality, sustainable and cost-effective labels and packaging, providing a comprehensive end-to-end solution. As a business, we recognise the importance of investing in the next generation, as well as our dedicated long-standing employees. This enables us to build a workplace rich in future-ready skills.
We had a great chat with some of our recent apprentices from different corners of our business! Bradley Taylor-Smith just wrapped up his apprenticeship in IT, Jamie England in Print is cruising through the middle of his journey, and Anaida Doran from our People Team is embarking on her apprenticeship adventure. It’s such a delight to get a sneak peek into the unique experiences of these three individuals at different points in their apprenticeship journeys.
Bradley Taylor-Smith – IT Support Technician
Bradley began his apprenticeship with Reflex back in September 2022. He was considering his options after deciding upon a career change. Bradley was looking for a challenge in his career change as he enjoys constantly learning, developing, and overcoming obstacles. With how vast and complex the world of IT is, and how quickly it can change, he felt this industry ticked the boxes.
“The apprenticeship helped me to build a foundation of knowledge, skills, and behaviours that I can apply to my everyday work.
I chose an apprenticeship as it gave me the chance to get my foot in the door without the need for loads of prior knowledge and experience which I didn’t have, having previously worked as a Driving Instructor and a Placing Broker in Insurance prior to that.
I would recommend an apprenticeship, particularly in IT, to anybody in a similar situation to myself that is wanting to make that career change but doesn’t have the experience or qualifications required for most entry-level roles. I also think it would be a good option for any school leavers who would like to jump straight into the working world and, unlike university, you will earn while you learn, there are no costs to you as the apprentice and also no debts at the end of it all.
As I’m sure you can imagine there was no “typical” day as an apprentice IT Technician at Reflex. When I first started there was a lot for me to learn and most days were spent being given training by my manager on the roles and responsibilities that I would have to take on. This was also combined with virtual classes held by the apprenticeship provider to learn the required KSBs. As my skills and knowledge developed I took on more responsibilities and spent more and more time performing the role of an IT Support Technician and doing more on-the-job learning”.
Pictured: Bradley Taylor-Smith
Bradley’s Line Manager, Neil Morton said:
“Bradley’s positive attitude towards learning, coupled with his impressive ability to grasp tasks and information swiftly, allowed him to seamlessly integrate into our bustling environment. Witnessing his knowledge expand and seeing him flourish over the course of the scheme has been truly rewarding. Today, Bradley stands as a competent IT Support Technician at Reflex, contributing significantly to the success of our team.
The apprenticeship programme has proven to be a game-changer for us. It’s not just about acquiring theoretical knowledge; it’s about hands-on learning and practical application in a real work setting. This approach has undoubtedly been the key to Bradley’s success. Being able to train someone like Bradley in our specific practices while they’re on the job has resulted in the best possible outcome. We’re not just building skilled professionals; we’re fostering an environment where individuals like Bradley can thrive and become valuable members of our dynamic team”.
Jamie England – Print Technician Level 3
Jamie began his apprenticeship with Reflex in January 2023 and decided an apprenticeship in print was the right route for him due to the multitude of different paths in the print industry.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in the apprenticeship programme so far! It’s been a great journey that has deepened my understanding of the print industry. The opportunity to learn a variety of skills across different aspects of print has been invaluable. What drew me to this apprenticeship was the chance to acquire a trade while earning income, bypassing the traditional university route. The hands-on approach has proven to be highly effective in gaining practical experience, enhancing my value in the workplace, and contributing to the development of a stronger career profile for the future.
For anyone considering an apprenticeship, I would wholeheartedly recommend this one. The working environment is fantastic, and the rewards are well worth the effort invested. It’s particularly beneficial for those who, like me, appreciate the opportunity to explore various facets of the print industry rather than focusing on just one.
A typical day in the apprenticeship involves helping set up jobs on the press, deepening my understanding of the machinery, and tackling new tasks each day to continually improve my skills. It’s a dynamic and engaging experience that keeps me excited about coming to work and eager to face new challenges”.
Pictured: Jamie England
Jamie’s Line Manager, Sangeet Dhillon said:
“Jamie puts a lot of hard work and effort into understanding and working in the print environment. He really seems to enjoy the process. At Reflex, we recognise the significance of apprenticeships, viewing them as a crucial step for young individuals entering the print industry. In a world where there’s an ageing population of printers, these apprenticeships play a vital role. They not only provide a pathway for young talents like Jamie but also contribute to injecting fresh perspectives and energy into the industry.
We believe that these enthusiastic young minds, like Jamie, are the key to incorporating new technologies and processes within the print sector. Their presence ensures that the industry stays vibrant, dynamic, and relevant in an ever-evolving landscape. We’re proud to be a part of fostering the growth of such talented individuals like Jamie, who are not only contributing to their own success but also shaping the future of the print industry as a whole”.
Anaida Doran- People Professional Level 5
Anaida will begin her People Professional Level 5 in 2024.
“Opting for an apprenticeship reflects my dedication to hands-on learning within the dynamic environment of Reflex. I see apprenticeships as crucial because they bridge the gap between theory and practical skills, aligning perfectly with the fast-paced and innovative atmosphere here. I’m eager for the chance to learn on the job and gain insights that will not only shape my career but also contribute meaningfully to the innovative work of Reflex”.
Pictured: Anaida Doran
Alison Brown, People Business Partner added:
“Investing in Apprenticeships is so important to our business and something that we have chosen to focus on this year. As much as we pride ourselves on being sustainable with our products and working practices, this also extends to the workforce and talent of the print industry whereby we are looking for new talent to come into the industry to choose print as a long term career.
As shown by our current apprentices, there are lots of disciplines in which to complete an apprenticeship so we look forward to growing from strength to strength through our people”.
Thank you to our apprentices and their managers for your contributions. Our goal for 2024 and beyond is to work with our local schools and colleges to attract young talent into the printing industry by actively participating in careers fairs and events and introducing people to the world of print.