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Adam Keys (pictured) joins the company as a print apprentice via a BPIF scheme

With one of the youngest teams in the print equipment and supplies sector, South East Drawing Office (SEDO) is renewing its commitment to introducing younger people to print by appointing two apprentices.

Adam Keys joins the company as a print apprentice via a BPIF scheme, while business administration apprentice Mollie Argent reports to Denise Forsdyke, administration manager in a wide-ranging role. SEDO is also now the sponsor of a youth football team, extending the reach of its awareness programme to early school years.

Both are evidence of SEDO’s belief in the importance of investing in youth initiatives and education to attract a younger demographic into print. Adam Keys was undertaking a carpentry apprenticeship when a friend suggested he might like to give print a try. After a trial day at SEDO’s Essex headquarters, he enrolled on a BPIF Print Administration and Planning Apprenticeship and hasn’t looked back. “I enjoy the wide variety of jobs and media that I use and see on a daily basis, and I’m learning about so many different techniques and methods,” he comments. “Since starting work in print, I really appreciate how important it is to our daily lives.” His most treasured piece of print is a photo of himself with West Ham players - probably something that’s going to be hard to top.

The BPIF scheme will prepare Adam for a range of roles in the industry, from production control and planning to project management or sales. Mollie Argent, meanwhile, has embraced her now role as a Business Administration apprentice, supported by ITEC. Her first job since leaving school, she finds that the environment is meeting her expectations. “I really appreciate that SEDO always put their customers first,” she says. “The apprenticeship is a great way to kick off my career, and I can already see it’ll allow me to achieve the experience and qualifications I need to grow quickly.”

Putting the print message in front of an even younger set of eyes is Mike Vincent, SEDO’s head of technical services. SEDO has been sponsoring the team since early in 2016, with Mike progressing from being the team’s assistant manager to hoping to take them to glory as manager; to that end he has recently committed to an FA coaching badge course. “The team hasn’t had a sponsor for a number of years,” Mike observes. “With the help of SEDO, the Tigers are ready to take on the world – and they’ll know exactly what print is and what it means by the time they get to secondary school.”

SEDO is therefore extending its track record in encouraging a younger demographic to consider print earlier in their development, believing firmly that fresh minds and new voices are essential to plug the imminent skills gap faced by the industry. For SEDO director Andy McGuinness – one of the industry’s younger company directors, aged 30 – this is something of a burning issue.

“Print has everything as an industry: inventiveness, superb machinery, digitisation and, most importantly, creativity,” Andy explains. “Without effective promotion to children at school and those starting to consider their career from age 14 onwards, they simply won’t see print as a career path. SEDO believes that we have to address this issue now, which is why we are committed to supporting a younger workforce and to our close ties with the BPIF, which has helped make that a reality.”