04 Mar 2021

Proskills Plea to Printers to ‘Get Involved’ in Shaping the Future Direction of Skills Training for the Industry


Proskills, the Sector Skills Council for the Process & Manufacturing sector, which includes the print and paper industries, is making a plea to printers to join forces with them to help shape the future direction of skills provision and training for the printing industry. Richard Moore, the recently appointed Print and Paper Industry Lead at Proskills is heading the campaign to encourage as many printers as possible to provide more representative input into how Proskills can assist employers gain the right training provision, offer the most appropriate industry-specific qualifications and guide businesses through the process of obtaining government funding for skills training.

“We need more printers to work with; their input is critical to our success in ensuring our industry has the right skills and training provision going forward,” says Richard Moore, Print and Paper Industry Lead at Proskills. Companies can either continue to voice their disapproval, disappointment and even disillusionment with the current system, or they can get actively involved and work with us at Proskills to develop skills training solutions and qualifications that fit with the needs of our industry.”

There are two ways print companies can get involved; by joining the Print Industry Board, or as a representative on the Standards and Qualifications Reform Group.

The Print Industry Board helps set the strategic direction for Proskills and plays a direct role in influencing skills development and training provision. To date, it has a membership of just over 20 employers, but in real terms, these companies only represent a small fraction of the industry, which comprises around 16,000 workplaces and 145,000 employees. Supported by representatives from employer bodies, trade unions and training providers, the task of the Print Industry Board is to ensure that the objectives and solutions developed by Proskills and the National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply (NSAMPS), the new directional delivery arm of Proskills, remain fully aligned to the needs of the industry.

The role of the Standards and Qualifications Reform Group is to develop and review new and existing standards and qualifications to meet the increasing demands of business, and as such, play a key role in ensuring the right training provision is in place to support investment in skills.

Richard Moore added, “Too often, we hear the criticism that the current government’s skills and funding system doesn’t deliver against the disparate needs of the printing industry – the wrong sort of training provision or delivery solution and the complex funding rules and processes that seem to preclude rather than include, all of which are frequently cited as the reason for not training staff. But is this viable in today’s economic climate, where advanced skills can drive business growth and aid survival during these difficult times?.”

“To ensure a more complete coverage and ever more influential input, we need more printers to get involved with the work we do and join the membership of both our Print and Paper Industry Boards as well as join our Standards and Qualifications Reform Group.”

For more information, or anyone interesting in joining should contact Richard Moore on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07910 247734.

printMAX acquire Planet Media Ltd


On the 1st July printMAX successfully completed its acquisition of the consumables business of Planet Media Ltd. This represents a major step forward for printMAX in the consumables arena.

Michael Bolton, MD of printMAX commented, “I am excited to be announcing what is a significant boost to printMAX's capability in terms of products and expertise in consumables. Planet Media has an excellent reputation in the industry and printMAX is very proud to be continuing this commitment to quality and service under the printMAX banner”.

Brian Stringer, MD of Planet Media: “When I was looking at potential candidates to take on our consumables division. I knew I only wanted to offer it to a company of high standards of integrity and service to maintain what we had already built up. With Mike Bolton at the reins of printMAX, they have consistently fulfilled these criteria, and I am very happy to entrust the well-oiled machine that is Planet Media to Mike’s capable hands”.

As part of the acquisition, printMAX will be taking on Nigel Reineck, Planet Media’s Senior Sales Manager. Nigel brings an intimate knowledge of Planet Media and 25 years experience of the consumables business to printMAX, which has been a leader in large format print itself for 20 years. This combined wealth of knowledge and experience will bolster printMAX’s position at the forefront of the large format print, finishing and consumables industry.

This extends printMAX’s capabilities significantly in terms of available portfolio of products, the range of media and inks on offer and the wealth of knowledge, service and backup available for printMAX customers.

"This is a tremendous addition to printMAX, one that will show tangible benefit to our customers. This expansion will consolidate printMAX’s position as an industry leader in products, service, and customer focused know-how”. Michael Bolton, MD, printMAX.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.printmax.co.uk


Ordnance Survey chooses Fujifilm plates in five-year deal

Fujifilm plates

FUJIFILM Graphic Systems recently won the five-year contract to supply its Brillia HD LH-PJE plates to Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping agency.

David Freemantle, print customer services manager, Print Services, Ordnance Survey, comments: “During the tender process, it became apparent that Fujifilm provides the most competitive offering without compromising on quality. The Brillia HD LH-PJE plates offer great consistency and reliability which is crucial for us as we need to deliver our end products to a very high standard. We are really pleased to be doing business with Fujifilm and are most impressed with the great customer service we have received to date.”

Established in 1791, Ordnance Survey is now a self-financing £100-million-a-year organisation at the forefront of the e-business revolution, producing computer data products and high quality paper maps for business, leisure, administrative and educational use.

Sean Lane, technical support manager for plates at Fujifilm, adds: “Ordnance Survey is well-known for its high quality printed maps and we are delighted to be associated with them. Our Brillia HD LH-PJE plates are well established in the marketplace and continue to be a popular choice for printers throughout Europe. We look forward to building on this relationship in the future.”

The Brillia HD LH-PJE plate is a long-run, positive working thermal CTP plate that does not require pre-heating or post-baking, and is suitable for UV printing without baking. The plate also has enhanced handling characteristics minimising plate spoilage.

ProCo Installs UK's First HP SmartStream Director

HP Logo

Powerful solution streamlines workflow and drives web-to-print operations

LONDON, England, 30 June 2009 - HP announced today that ProCo, of Sheffield, has installed the first HP SmartStream Director end-to-end-workflow solution in the UK.

HP SmartStream Director is part of the HP SmartStream Solutions Portfolio, an open end digital workflow environment, developed to meet the needs of a broad range of market segments and applications including commercial, publications, packaging, labels and inkjet web printing.

Announced at drupa 2008 and now available in EMEA, HP SmartStream Director is powered by Press-sense iWay™ platform and provides an integrated workflow solution that automates, manages, customises and optimises business and production processes from online job submission through to delivery and billing. Using industry standard formats (typically JDF), HP SmartStream Director can easily integrate with HP partner components including TEC-IT for barcode generation, DirectSmile's image generator, and finishing equipment from Duplo and Horizon.

ProCo is a modern print service provider (PSP) established in 1996, that provides comprehensive printing and fulfilment services to its customers. Employing 95 full-time staff, ProCo is a fully integrated litho, digital, direct mail and distribution provider built on a commitment to great technological solutions and great customer service.

At ProCo, HP SmartStream Director is linked directly to its three HP Indigo presses (an HP Indigo press 3050, an HP Indigo press 5000 and an HP Indigo press 5500), also to its Apogee X PDF workflow and its MIS.

"HP SmartStream Director speaks simply and directly with our MIS and production technology," Jon Bailey, sales director, ProCo, said. "What I like about  HP SmartStream Director is the openness of the platform. Integration is key - removing processes adds real value to both us and our customers, reducing costs and waste, yet increasing our route to market. HP SmartStream Director enables us to run our business in a totally different way, streamlining our operations, adding value to the clients and having a positive impact on our bottom line."

HP SmartStream Director is open and scalable and can drive multiple HP Indigo presses with full variable data printing.

One of the applications that HP SmartStream Director facilitates is web-to-print. Integrating directly with the online customer interface, orders, delivery instructions and payment information can be gathered and processed as part of a single operation. Depending on the nature of the PSP's business, web-to-print can be used for consumer applications like the printing of photobooks, greetings cards or personalised calendars, or business-to-business applications.

"Web-to-print has definitely made us more competitive," Bailey said. "As a major component of our web-to-print solution, the HP SmartStream Director workflow enables customers to track jobs, monitor progress and plan deliveries more accurately. This helps them to reduce costs without having a negative impact on our margins. It also enables us to focus on working pro actively with our customers, rather than having to chase proofs and proofs of delivery."

Timely Launch Of National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply

Terry Watts, Chief Executive of Proskills (right) and Lord Young (left)Lord Young joined senior industry figures at official launch of the National Skills for Materials, Production & Supply (NSAMPS). Lord Young, Minister at the newly created Department for Business Innovation & Skills joined with senior representatives and employers from the process and manufacturing sector, which includes the Print and Paper industries, for the official launch in London, of the National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply (NSAMPS).

The introduction of the new Academy, which is being launched to provide a gateway to quality-assured, industry-relevant skills training programmes and solutions, comes at a time when research1 has revealed that 68% of the largest employer organisations in the process & manufacturing sector are suffering from skills shortages. More significantly, 82% of companies across the footprint have confirmed that these skills gaps are having a negative effect on their business.

Joining the Minister for the nationwide unveiling of The Academy is Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Learning Skills Council (LSC), David Szymanski, Managing Director of Hanson Building Products, Tony Burke, Assistant General Manager of UNITE the UNION and Terry Watts, Chief Executive of Proskills UK.

The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production and Supply becomes the 11th skills Academy to be established as part of the Government’s expanding National Skills Academy network.

Kevin Brennan, Minister for Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs at The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said, “I am delighted to be opening the National Skills Academy for Materials, Production and Supply (NSAMPS). It will help improve the skills of the current and future workforce by putting employers in the driving seat to shape training and nurture the talents of a new generation of workers. This government continues to invest in National Skills Academies because we want to build a system which meets the needs of businesses and individuals and creates a world-beating workforce which will support the industry’s future development.”

The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply will offer a new delivery mechanism for a range of industry-specific skills training products and services that are industry-endorsed and designed to meet the needs of the sector. Built on a ‘3D approach’ to training, this simple structure will give maximum benefit to employers, employees and learners that use it, taking them through the three key stages to successful skills development: Diagnostic, Directory and Delivery.

The Academy will provide flexible, innovative and cost-effective training solutions via a web portal, which will make training provision easier, simpler and more accessible for businesses of every shape and size, providing maximum sectoral and regional reach. Physical provision includes Employer Learning Centres that will provide state of the art classroom teaching as well as workshops for practical hands on training.

Commenting on the announcement, Terry Watts, Chief Executive of Proskills said, “As research has highlighted, training is no longer an option but a necessity and one that could make the difference between survival and failure. Our Academy couldn’t have come at a better time for our employers, especially as the recession forces companies to review the skills of their workforce. With staff cuts putting a greater strain on the remaining workforce and irreplaceable skills lost through redundancy, never before have skills been more important. But we know from the employer support that we have, that ‘skills activism’ truly is a reality in our sector and that the Academy is indeed a timely response.”

Mr Watts continued, “Over the years, we have listened to our employers call for simplification as they have voiced the challenges they have faced to gain easy access to industry-specific skills training provision, and we believe that the Academy will become THE delivery mechanism that will make all the difference.”

The National Skills Academy for Materials, Production & Supply will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of Proskills, the Sector Skills Council for the process and manufacturing industries, which includes Print and Paper, under the direction of the Academy Board, comprising employers representing all of the eight industries that make up the sector as well as trade unions representatives.

Proskills UK has today also announced the appointment of Graeme Finch as the new General Manager for the National Skills Academy who will spearhead the ongoing development of the Academy to provide top class industry-specific skills training support and solutions based on employer demand.

Graeme Finch added, “This is a tremendously exciting time to be joining the team. From my experience, in mature industries, it is the people that are the key differentiator. Training your staff will give your business the competitive edge and make it stand out from the crowd, and I strongly believe that our National Skills Academy is the right and only way forward for businesses in our sector footprint.”

Surprise move by the Italian digital printing specialist sees it install a Komori LS 29 offset press

Komori Offset Press

Marghera, 25th June 2009: pixart.it, the European leader in web-to-print based digital printing services, has announced the installation of a new four-colour Komori LS 29 offset press at the company’s Marghera production facility. The Komori is the company’s first foray into commercial litho printing and joins a fleet of digital printing machines which is unrivalled in Europe and has made the company one of the continent’s digital printing powerhouses.

Matteo Rigamonti, managing director, pixart.it explains the rationale behind the Italian company’s latest investment: “In January 2009 we introduced a new offset printing services to our customers. The response from the market has been tremendous and in a very short time we achieved the high volumes which more than justified this major investment. With this inhouse litho production capacity we can now ensure we maintain print quality and control over production times for longer run work, both of which are so essential to our core proposition - to offer quality printing at competitive prices and a 24/48 hour delivery service throughout Europe.”

Alongside the new Komori four-colour offset press, pixart.it has installed a Basysprint automatic CTP plate production system. Mr Rigamonti says he chose the Komori press and Basysprint CTP unit due to the highly automated printing process they offered which will enable the company to constantly achieve a quality end result, repeatable over time, even in the hands of operators who have little specific experience in the traditional
printing sector.

The new press and CTP system form the centre piece of an aggressive investment strategy that is once again rapidly expanding the company’s printing arsenal to help it meet ever increasing customer demands. Further investments on target for installation over the coming months include an Arizona 350 XT high quality flatbed printer; another KIP Color 80 system (the second it has installed in the last year); the company’s second Rho 320 R roll-to-roll system in less than a year; and two Zund G3 cutting systems, which will join six Zund cutting systems already installed across the company’s two Marghera production sites.

Continues Mr Rigamonti: “pixart.it has always been a company that will invest in the right and most innovative technology to meet its customers’ demands and enable us to achieve the optimum price/quality ratio. So, the installation of the new Komori is completely in line with this strategy. What's more, it's fundamentally important for us to be able to guarantee all our customers the quality and service which has always set us apart. We can now do this by managing the high volume print production process inhouse as we do with all our cut-sheet and wide format digital printing services.”