Machine printer

print minder

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would operate machines to print books, leaflets, posters, magazines and other items. You’d set up the printing presses with the right materials and fix any problems.

You’d follow the instructions from the pre-press operator about the requirements for the production run.

You would:

  • Match colours to the pre-press proofs
  • Restock ink levels
  • Feed the print materials into the presses
  • Put job data into computerised control units
  • Carry out quality checks during the print run
  • Identify problems and fix faults
  • Clean presses after a print run has finished (either by hand or using automatic cleaning systems)
  • Carry out basic machine maintenance

You would usually work on a particular type of press.

But you would train in a variety of printing techniques, including:

  • Flexigraphic (relief process) – commonly used to print on to items like shopping bags and food packaging
  • Screen printing (stencilling) – for printing on to clothing, posters or display signs
  • Gravure (intaglio process) – used for high quality work on catalogues, fabrics and wallpapers
  • Digital printing – using inkjet and laser printing methods
  • Lithographic (planographic process) – the most common process, often used for large print runs such as catalogues, newspapers and magazines

On large presses, you might work in a team, but on smaller ones you could be responsible for all the tasks on the print run.

You’d need to be able to concentrate for long periods and work to deadlines.

Working conditions

Hours

You would normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, possibly on a shift system which could include nights. Overtime is often available.

Environment

You could work in a variety of settings, from small workshops to large printing warehouses. Your workplace could be hot and noisy, depending on the type and age of the machinery. You would need protective clothing and equipment due to the chemicals and solvents used in the printing process.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Working on your own
  • Working with your hands
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but a good general education may be of value.

Many machine printers complete a Modern Apprenticeship and gain relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Machine Printing (SCQF level 5/6).  

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Technologies subjects like Graphic Communication.  
  • Expressive Arts subjects like a Design & Manufacture or Media

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience of:

  • Printing
  • Using or repairing machinery
  • Graphic communication