Printing the Future with Reflex 

We’re proud to be flying the flag for National Apprenticeship Week this week – a seven-day celebration of the apprenticeship programme that seeks to highlight the opportunity and value apprentices bring to businesses.

Apprenticeships have always been a big part of The Reflex recruitment strategy; training new talent to emanate the experts and specialists we have on our team is not only hugely rewarding, but it also makes great business sense.

The official theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Build the Future’, so we’ve caught up with some of our current apprentices to explore how the scheme helps individuals build their future with Reflex, and why they’re so important to our business.


Reflex has 18 sites across the UK, and with our multi-site, multi-product offering comes a diverse range of job roles.

Alison Brown, Group HR Manager says: “Currently we have 15 apprentices within the group taking the opportunity to learn new skills that are also benefitting the business.”

Introducing our apprentices

Reflex’s core business function is to print quality, sustainable and cost-effective labels and packaging, offering a complete end-to-end solution. As a business, it’s important for us to invest in the next generation, as well as our long-standing employees. This enables us to build a workplace with future-ready skills.

We caught up with three apprentices at our Reflex Label Plus, Keighley site who are all studying their NVQ in Print.

Jamie Sharples began his Level 2 in 2016 and is now working towards achieving a Level 3

“My apprenticeship has helped me to develop knowledge about the print industry, giving me confidence within the workplace to work at a professional level, as well as providing me with the knowledge of each department within our company.

When I came across the opportunity with Reflex back in 2016, I had just left full time education and was still in “learn mode”. I felt that an apprenticeship would ease me into a full-time job, while still being able to learn on the side”

Liam Butterfield is the newest apprentice at Keighley, having started his training right in the middle of the pandemic in June 2020.

“I chose an apprenticeship in print as it interested me knowing there’s an option for a long career in it. I believe it has helped me start on the right path and learn a trade I can stay in”

Sam Hakes began his apprenticeship with Reflex in 2019.

“Having spoken to well-informed people, alongside my own research, I decided that a career in print was a good option. I always liked the idea of learning on the job whilst also earning an income, therefore an apprenticeship seemed the obvious choice.

I believe an apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to get into the career you want and I am, very grateful for the opportunity I have received at Reflex”

Shaun Hanson, site manager at Reflex Keighley is thrilled with their progress so far:

“All three of the current apprentices’ at Keighley have become more confident in their role whilst undertaking their schemes. It’s refreshing to see they have taken the opportunity seriously and it has enabled them to grow as people in their roles.

Apprenticeships set the right people on the right path within the company. We invest in them and in turn they give back to the company by gaining knowledge and experience, which is invaluable for Reflex. Experienced, dedicated staff ensure the right skill set stays within Reflex which means it is future protected”.

And it’s not all printing!

The ‘Build the Future’ campaign is particularly relevant to Leah Watson at our Boston site.

Leah started with Reflex whilst undertaking a Level 3 Business in Administration Apprenticeship back in 2018. This was later completed in 2019 where Leah then started as a Customer Service Executive (CSE)

female working on laptop

Leah says: “The apprenticeship has definitely helped build my career as it has given me more confidence on all aspects of my job and given me a wider understanding. I chose an apprenticeship because it gave me an opportunity to learn on the job and develop new skills along the way, rather than being stuck in a classroom. I’d definitely recommend it to others”.

Sharon Preston, Leah’s line manager added that she is: “immensely proud of everything Leah has achieved” and says “she now has much more self-belief in her own ability and is a valued member of the Customer Service team and a great asset to the company”.

Sharon also explained how she believes “on the job learning is important to the print industry, since most of the technical aspects of the job are taught in-house. During the apprenticeship, the course work helps to build the foundations of the job whilst guiding the Apprentice and having the support of the tutor to further assist with any difficulties. The business benefits from the training the apprentice receives through the course in guiding them and helping understand the business needs and expectations.”

The future of Reflex apprenticeships 

 Alison Brown, Group HR Manager:

“Apprenticeship programmes demonstrate that we are committed to the employee to support the course both financially and the 20% “off the job” time to learn, which is a win for engagement of the employee and new skills for the business through a structured programme that gives a recognised qualification at the end.

We have found the schemes that work best for employees are those that are flexible around personal and business circumstances, which is really important in order for it to be a success, meaning breaks from the course can be taken when required.

We choose our training provider partners carefully so that they are supporting and promoting the success of the employee to achieve their goal”


Huge thanks to all of our dedicated apprentices who contributed to this article.


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Any questions about what is featured in this post?

We’re always happy to answer any questions or enquiries you may have.

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