Mike Pascoe, Production Manager at award-winning SME Nationwide Print, has been in the trade for over forty years. He is on a mission to motivate the next generation to join the print industry, and reveals that it is far from a dying trade…

I was 16 years old when I started out in the printing trade… By chance I took a job packing boxes at a printing firm in Truro, and before long I was promoted to Machine Minder on an old Letterpress Printing Machine. The industry was very different back then and individual jobs took a lot longer, but I found the whole process fascinating. Right from the start I loved creating something out of nothing, and the fact that every individual job is different.

I’ve moved up through the ranks, and diversified… The first part of my career was spent as a Machine Minder, both at printing companies and in various in-house positions (these days printing equipment is so specialist and expensive that most organisations – even the largest – outsource it.) In the second half of my career I took a step sideways; I’ve been working on the production side of things for 20 years, the last four with Nationwide Print.

I’ve seen incredible changes in the industry over the years… I’ve seen Lithograph presses replace Letterpress machines, and the rise of digital printing – which has quickly become a dominant force. I’m always ready to embrace change, which is lucky as the print industry is evolving faster than most! It’s exciting to see the spirit of innovation – led by companies like Nationwide Print – take hold and transform an industry through new products and ideas.

Digital printing is helping smaller businesses compete with the big boys… Here at Nationwide Print we work with companies of all sizes – from Cornwall-based SMEs to international giants like Armani. Digital printing means that smaller jobs are more affordable and can be turned around very quickly, and next-generation finishing techniques are perfect for creating bespoke marketing materials to help small businesses stand out from the crowd. Access to good design (and we have plenty of great designers here in Cornwall) and professional printing can be a great leveller.

We are always trying to make things easier for our clients… I regularly have production meetings with larger clients; good communication helps to ensure that their campaigns run smoothly. I enjoy working closely with clients and designers to make sure we get the best results on each project. We are also about to introduce a new online ordering platform, which will make commissioning print – especially for businesses with multiple sites – much easier. Here at Nationwide Print we believe in solving problems, not creating them!

My son recently joined me at Nationwide Print… He is gaining experience in several different aspects of the business, including production and estimating. I firmly believe that the industry has a lot to offer young people, with diverse career opportunities and exciting pathways emerging thanks to new technology. Despite the power of digital marketing, people still want something beautiful to hold – a heavy-weight business card, a luxury spa brochure, or a perfect-bound annual review for example – which is why print hasn’t disappeared, but evolved!

Matt Pascoe