• The Publishing Post

The Printing Charity

Sophie Kirby is Head of Education & Partnerships at The Printing Charity. As the UK’s second oldest occupational charity, they help people in printing, publishing, packaging, paper, and the graphic arts. 


When asked about the support the charity can offer, Sophie said:

‘We’re celebrating our 2020 Print Futures Award winners right now. 25 of the 44 winners were from the publishing sector. Aged 18-30 and awarded up to £1,500 each, our rising stars are investing in their skills. Key focus areas are always core skills, such as those offered by The Publishing Training Centre and Chartered Institute for Editors and Proofreaders. I really enjoy reading through the hundreds of applications we receive, as I’m able to learn about not only the exciting things that young people in our industry are doing, but also about the challenges that they face. This insight helps inform the work of the Charity to ensure we remain relevant.’ 

As well as celebrating new talent, the Printing Charity’s aim is to help those in genuine need through our practical and emotional support. A friendly voice at the end of the phone, our team try and help with everyday advice and ways forward when you feel unsure of what to do or find yourself in a crisis. Call them on 01293 542820 or email support@theprintingcharity.org.uk to find out more. 

Applications will reopen in January 2021, so now is a perfect time to look at your skill set and understand what training and development could really shape your future. We love to receive well thought through applications and we would encourage you to discuss them with a manager, mentor or friend before submission. 

Follow us on Twitter @printingcharity 

The Publishing Post spoke to Becca Parkinson, Engagement Manager at Comma Press, about her experiences with The Printing Charity:

‘I won a Print Futures Award in 2018, and used my grant for two courses at the Publishing Training Centre – Writing for the Web and Introduction to Marketing – plus the cost of travel to London to complete them as I’m based in Manchester. 
The content of the sessions was undoubtedly useful and the tutors were able to adapt it to the specific concerns of every student, which was great as someone working for a small press. I learnt how we could best use our online resources, how to curate consumer journeys, how customers view web pages and how to optimize our content to suit their habits. Upon completing the courses, I felt validated, knowing I was already doing things right going into the course, and came out with new knowledge. The training definitely diminished my publishing imposter syndrome somewhat and gave me the confidence to implement my strategies and ideas at work. I would never have had the funds to do these courses ordinarily and to be able to afford to travel to London as well was such a gift.’ 

We also spoke to another winner, Cleo Asabre-Holt who is a Freelance Artist, Writer and Editor:

‘I first heard about the Print Futures Award when I was working in the editorial department at Trigger Publishing. My manager was a winner in 2017 and told me that I should definitely go for the 2020 programme. I was very new to publishing when we had the conversation, feeling out of my depth and that I wasn’t established enough to have a chance at winning such an incredible opportunity. 
I voiced these doubts to my manager, who reassured me that the whole purpose of the award is to support 18-30-year olds develop their professional skills and that being new to the industry made me an ideal candidate. 
I was invited to interview a short while later. I get nervous for interviews, but it was relaxed, and the panellists were very welcoming and easy to chat to. I spoke about what excites me about publishing, my future goals and wanting to increase my confidence and professional skills within a really competitive industry.
It was such brilliant news when I received the email to say I’d been successful and would be able to start my proofreading and editing courses with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (the CIEP). I’ve already learned so much and have only good things to say about the Printing Charity.’