Machine printer

print minder flexographic printer
Print and publishing, marketing and advertising

Career outlook for machine printer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


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


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





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Reading
  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management

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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.


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