Print room operator
Reprographic assistants use photocopiers and printers to make documents, brochures, leaflets and pictures.
Salary range: £13,500 to £25,000
How to become a reprographic assistant
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take a college course to learn some of the skills you’ll need. Courses include:
- Level 2 Award in Printing and Graphic Communications
- Level 3 Certificate in Printing and Graphic Communications
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in reprographics.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You may need some GCSEs to apply directly for jobs, for example maths, English, IT and art and design. But this isn’t always essential.
Experience using desktop publishing software like InDesign or QuarkXpress can help. It will also help you if you’ve had any other roles where you’ve used printers and other business machinery.
You can find out more about careers in reprographics from the British Printing Industries Federation.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- persistence and determination
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- analytical thinking skills
- observation and recording skills
- the ability to work well with your hands
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- copying and binding printed materials
- discussing the job requirements with the customer
- helping prepare designs and layouts for print runs
- working out timescales, costs and the number of copies required
- programming instructions into the copying equipment
- making sure machines have suitable levels of inks, chemicals and toners
- supplying print materials to the machines
- mounting printing plates or cylinders, if working on a press, and lining them up correctly
- monitoring the progress of the copying run and quality checking samples
- finishing copied items, by trimming, binding or laminating
- performing basic equipment maintenance and cleaning
- administrative tasks like recording job details and ordering supplies
You could work in an office or in a workshop.
Your working environment may be physically demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could progress to departmental supervisor or production controller.
In a print shop, you could become a shop manager.