Precision Printing is a family business so I started my working life in the early eighties working during my school holidays sweeping floors, placing bets for minders, making tea and getting the sandwiches.
It’s true there were fewer women in the business then, especially in the print room where the only female presence were the ladies in pictures on the walls who didn’t seem to be wearing very much! In fact, the only women to venture onto the shop floor would be May from accounts to deliver the bulging brown envelopes full of crisp £20’s once a week.
Photo: Gary Peeling & Group Chairman Clive Cooper
Like all print rooms then, it was a grubby place with dust, grease, ink, colourful language and noisy machinery which was only drowned out by an even noisier radio.
But the world was changing and by the time I began working full time in 1986, Thatcher’s Britain was in full swing. With a woman leading the nation and even driving the occasional tank, anything was possible for anyone.
Even in these few short years it was easy to see the change, in fact my first boss was female, Julia Hill Financial Director, Julia headed and ran the estimating department where I was training.
Something was clear even then that although in the print industry female employment may have been lower than elsewhere and polarised in certain roles for accounts, finishing, or typesetting, 75% of our clients were women!
So for me with a female boss and mainly female clients, women have been a constant.
I have enjoyed working with many fantastic women in print over the years, my colleagues in all sorts of roles, including the wonderful Kathy Woodward who of course ran the British Print Federation.
Print output is analogue and remains engaging however every possible process is digital, the environments are clean F1-like factories and not a scantily clad pin up in sight! Clearly, senior roles (and every other) at Precision are staffed by women, 80% of our clients are now female, but in addition, the software developers and engineers that develop the machines and technology that we use are female too.
I have particularly enjoyed reading the contributions to this blog stream, for me the print industry is not about being male or female, it is really about opportunity, opportunity for young people with or without a degree or academic qualifications to develop a rewarding career in every possible sense.
I know better than to argue with our empowered Marketing Manager Emma, but would respectfully suggest that the next series should be about young people in print as that is the challenge for the industry and the opportunity for an adventure in print for all.