How to become a Reprographic Assistant. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Reprographic assistant do?
Reprographic assistants, (also known as print room operators), copy and bind a range of printed materials in bulk, using photocopying and/or printing equipment.
As a reprographic assistant, you would deal with a variety of items including manuals, brochures, leaflets and documents. Your duties would include:
- discussing the job requirements with the customer
- working out timescales, costs and the number of copies required
- programming instructions into the copying equipment, for instance colour saturation
- making sure machines have suitable levels of inks, chemicals and toners
- supplying print materials to the machines
- mounting printing plates or cylinders, if working on a press, and lining them up correctly
- monitoring the progress of the copying run
- quality checking samples
- finishing copied items, for example trimming, binding and laminating
- performing basic equipment maintenance and cleaning
- carrying out administrative tasks like recording job details and ordering supplies.
In some jobs you may also help prepare designs and layout for print runs.
You would normally work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. If you work in a print shop, you may also work Saturdays. Part-time and flexible hours may be possible.
The job may involve some lifting and standing for long periods.
How much does a Reprographic Assistant earn?
Salary and pay information
- Starting salaries can be between £15,000 and £17,500 a year.
- Experienced assistants can earn between £17,000 and £21,000.
- Staff with supervisory responsibilities can earn around £25,000 a year.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You do not always need qualifications to become a reprographics assistant, but GCSEs in maths, English, art and design, and IT may give you an advantage when looking for work.
You may be able to get into this job through a printing or reprographics Apprenticeship. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
You could also take one of several print-related qualifications at college to learn some of the skills needed for this job. Courses include:
- City and Guilds Certificate in Printing and Graphic Communications (5261) levels 2 and 3
- BTEC Certificate and Diploma in Graphics or in Art & Design.
General art and design, audio-visual studies and desktop publishing courses may also be useful.
For more details about careers in printing and reprographics, together with training providers, visit the websites for The British Printing Industry Federation (BPIF) and Proskills UK.
Training and Development
Your employer would train you on specific equipment when you start work. They may also send you on training courses offered by the reprographic equipment manufacturers.
You could work towards a relevant NVQ in Digital Print Production levels 2 and 3, or Machine Printing Level 3.
See the BPIF and Proskills UK websites for more details about relevant NVQs and short training courses in specific technical areas of the job.
The Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing (IP3) offers the IP3 Certificate, designed to give you a broad overview of these sectors. See the IP3 website for more details.
- The Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing (IP3)
Skills and Knowledge
- a methodical and well organised approach to work
- the ability to follow instructions and job specifications
- the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
- good computer and administration skills
- an appreciation of colour, detail and design
- good customer care skills
- the ability to work well as part of a team and alone
- a willingness to work flexibly.
Your main opportunities are likely to be with the copying and printing departments of large companies, civil service departments, local government, the NHS, universities, colleges and larger schools. You could also find jobs with high street ‘instant print’ shops.
With experience, you could progress to departmental supervisor or production controller. In a print shop, you could become a shop manager.
Vacancies are advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus and on the Jobs in Print website.
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