Toby Gosling has just finished a Level 2 NVQ Machine Printing apprenticeship in Coveris’ Labels and Board division. Find out why Toby chose an apprenticeship and what has been involved in his print journey so far.


What made you decide an apprenticeship was for you?

I always had the intention of doing an apprenticeship; I wanted to learn a trade, get qualifications and felt an apprenticeship would put me in a good position for my career. I finished my two year Level 2 NVQ Machine Printing apprenticeship in September and start the Level 3 course this month.


What was it about the print apprenticeship opportunity at Coveris that appealed to you?

I have family friends who have worked for Coveris for as long as 5 – 10 years and more, so it has a reputation locally as a place to work that’s reliable, loyal and offers opportunity for progression. Having met people who work as printers and knowing a bit about the role, thought it was a good career path to start.


Is working in the packaging and print industry what you expected?

No, it’s better! I underestimated what was involved in printing; there’s so much more depth to the skills and knowledge you need compared to what I was expecting.


What did the Level 2 apprenticeship involve?

The apprenticeship was mostly on-the-job training, and I learnt the whole process of printing, from how plates are made to ink matching, preparing plates and cutters, learning how presses work, working as an operator, changing inks, washing – there was a lot, and I’m still learning now. We have different types of presses and capabilities, and I’ve had the chance to gain experience on all of them. I also completed one day a month at college, covering the printing process, finishing and faults, so I have knowledge of all types of print, and the theory behind them.


Have you completed any other development opportunities as part of your apprenticeship?

As part of my induction I spent time working with the CPS (Coveris Performance System) and Health and Safety teams. I was with the CPS team for a month which was interesting as I visited other sites at Coveris, learning how they operate, good practice, problem solving activities and how the wider business works. I’ve also completed fire marshal and manual handling training.


What do you enjoy about working at Coveris?

There’s a lot to learn working in print which keeps you engaged and busy. The company is well organised and for each job the processes and responsibilities are clear; you can also see how people have developed in to new roles once they’ve gained experience. There’s a friendly atmosphere and it’s a very clean and safe place to work. We print labels for a lot of well known food and drink brands and retailers, so when I see something in a supermarket that Coveris has made, it’s quite satisfying knowing the process that goes in to producing it.


What are the biggest challenges you have experienced so far?

Work based assessments and the pressure of being observed by my tutor from college! I met all my targets and I was really pleased with the feedback; he highlighted my independent skills and knowledge working on the press, as well as how I applied my health and safety experience and use of PPE (personal protective equipment).


What are your ambitions now you have completed your Level 2 apprenticeship, and how has it prepared you for your future career?

I’m moving on to a Level 3 NVQ course, so I’m staying as an apprentice for longer and will learn in even more detail the role of a printer. I’m hoping the knowledge, experience and skills will give me the best opportunities in the future.


What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining the Coveris team?

I would encourage anyone to think about joining Coveris. It’s quite eye opening at first and there’s a lot to learn, but by getting experience and keep developing there are opportunities to progress within the Company.


Mark Ellis, Site Operation Co-Ordinator at Coveris and Toby’s mentor added:

“Mentoring apprentices is very rewarding, and I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing development and growing confidence as our new starters progress into experienced printers with a well-rounded skill set. Toby shows enthusiasm, hard work and a can-do attitude during all tasks, and as well as developing as a person during his apprenticeship, his skill set is an asset to the business. With support from the Coveris team and continued conscientious approach, Toby has a big year ahead as he starts his Level 3 NVQ.”


Pictured: Andrew Wiltshire (Site Manager), Toby Gosling (Print Apprentice) and Mark Ellis (Site Operation Co-Ordinator)