From bacon rolls to canapés and cava: my journey in the print industry

“Education, education, education” was drummed into me at an early age and this mantra has helped me get where I am today. I also hear people use the phrase “grab the bull by the horns”: in other words, get stuck in and don't be afraid of the risks, and this is equally applicable to my story.

Before entering the inkjet industry I worked - temporarily - in a shop serving customers with pies, pasties and bacon rolls. Little did I know that a few months down the line I would have a job working in marketing. I had a vague idea of my career path but often life can blind you from these opportunities due to the lack of jobs available at that time, and my relative lack of education or experience.

Luckily though I was given an opportunity: one that has transformed my life. I was employed part-time as a Junior Marketing Assistant to help IMI Europe with database building. This was only supposed to be a temporary job, but Mike then kept me on to do a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Marketing & Communications. For me this was ideal; now I am killing two birds with one stone by by acquiring knowledge while simultaneously gaining experience.

After completing my Apprenticeship and qualifying, I was employed as a sales and marketing assistant, where I continued my education with a CIM Introductory Certificate in Marketing. I now have more responsibility than I did previously due to the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained through the industry. I now travel to European destinations to give on-site help at our events, meeting with new and existing customers, as well as the day to day activities such as email marketing, preparing press releases, social media management, website design, lead generation, and other marketing related tasks. And occasionally my boss even tells me that I’m doing a good job!

When I first started working for IMI Europe I had no knowledge of the inkjet industry, so what better way than to learn that sit in on our conferences and courses? From listening to experts in their fields give presentations on current market developments and their technologies, it became clear that the industry is growing quickly and rapidly changing.  

Digital inkjet technology is used in a wide range of applications, especially industrial inkjet - using inkjet technology as a printing or deposition process in manufacturing or production lines. From attending our events, I learnt about the types of companies, processes and technologies used today. But most importantly, I try to make sure I give everyone a warm welcome and make plenty of time to network with the people at our events.

I have learnt and I’m still learning so much about the inkjet industry and how important education is, but most importantly how lucky I was to be given an opportunity to prove to myself, and others, what I am capable of.

Recently some industry publications have posed the question: “should the print industry be employing more people for apprenticeships?” In my opinion the answer is emphatically yes. I was given a chance - and perhaps you also got a lucky break early in your career. I believe it is important that these opportunities are passed on so that others are given the opportunity to thrive.

Kirsty Inman, IMI Europe

This article was originally published on Output Magazine's website.