Tom Garsed, Marketing, Design & Innovation Director, Graphic Packaging UK, calls for action in the UK packaging and print industries to support the development of young talent in the country.
“At GPI we have a number of initiatives to bring young talent into our company including apprenticeship schemes across multiple departments, university placement schemes in packaging design and sponsoring the Schools and Students StarPack design briefs. The Starpack Awards are where creative packaging design briefs are provided by packaging industry sponsors to schools, colleges and universities. All of these activities enable GPI to connect and help train and educate young people considering a career in a design related function. However, this simply isn’t enough,” says Garsed.

According to UK Government statistics issued 15th June 2016, 621,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in February to April 2016, representing an unemployment rate of 13.6%, down by 116,000 compared to a year ago. Whilst it is clearly good news that the numbers are going in the right direction, and significantly lower than many European countries, the fact remains that young talented students exiting full time education do not recognise the opportunities the packaging and print industries provide. Fewer young people are therefore entering the industry and there are very limited routes for existing employees to get up to date independent training to support their careers to create long-term employee retention.

Garsed added: “With the country’s current employment level, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill positions in packaging technology, as well as other packaging related vacancies. The packaging industry itself is also becoming more advanced so more detailed knowledge is required, particularly in the STEM and design subjects.

“We have a fundamental problem in the U.K with packaging and print education not pulling talented young people in to the industry. All of my colleagues and peers are trained in other disciplines and may do a print or packaging diploma later in their career, if their employer is willing to invest.


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