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Jobs on offer - but more training courses needed

Despite the difficulties being experienced in the economy at the moment, there are a number of job opportunities for sign-makers being advertised.

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The course at SignFab in Leicester is an introduction to the industry

An all-rounder (Installer - Large Format/Signage) in Bristol is required by one recruitment agency, while in Southampton there’s a call for a Printer/Finisher/Prepress Operator - Large Format (both advertised on Reed).

Doodle Graphics in Basingstoke are after someone who can turn their hand to sign-making and applying vehicle graphics. Looking around the usual situation vacant job sites, there are openings for a number of sign-makers from London to Bradford. Some include the offer that they would take on an apprentice or a trainee.

There is no doubt more trainees and graduates in sign-making or related industries such as shop fitting are required. It’s a growing industry with a wider set of skills needed than ever before. It begs the question why is there so few sign-making courses in the UK while there are 189 media studies courses leading to a degree or diploma?

If a teenager could simply go to college full-time on a sign-making course and find a job on graduation then that would probably attract far more people to the }

There a small number of industry backed courses as either tasters or specific workshops on a particular discipline such as vehicle wrapping or traditional sign-writing. But overall there’s barely a handful of college courses for sign-making compared to the vast numbers of well-funded media studies, graphic design and computer courses in universities and colleges. However, in September in collaboration with the trade organisation The British Sign and Graphics Association (BSGA) and the organisation Make It Happen is putting together a one-day course as an introduction to the industry at SignFab (UK) in Leicester. (Full details from Sam Armstrong sam@makeih.co.uk or call 07595 071288.)

Crawley College has a two-year part time work-based sign-making level 2 NVQ Diploma course that is free to under 18s while Walsall has the same course offering in what they call within a Signmaking Framework. Students (who can be any age) will learn a range of skills including how to design signs; prepare different types of surfaces; cut out and build plastics into letters and logos; use digital technologies and install signs.

A Make It Happen introduction to the industry at SignFab (UK) in Leicester

The nature of the work will vary with the employer of the student, but it could involve machining, joining, engraving, etching, hand decorating, spray-painting and screen-printing, says the college. The fact you need to have an employer is the reason why there are so few courses. If a teenager could simply go to college full-time on a sign-making course and find a job on graduation then that would probably attract far more people to the industry. The British Sign & Graphics Association (BSGA) will have knowledge of any of their members organising workshops and taster sessions so are worth contacting via their website.

Hull Training and Adult Education has a Signmaking Apprenticeship Level 2 course over 13 months (www.hcctraining.ac.uk) and includes mandatory requirements of the Apprenticeship framework; an NVQ, Technical Certificate and Functional Skills in English, Maths and ICT. One option is the Leeds College of Building that has a range of practical courses such a shopfitting which are related to sign-making and have cross-over skills. (www.lcb.ac.uk)

If you have a vacancy or a course, feature it in SignLink. If it’s a course let us know how your students are getting on as testimonials as we’d love to hear about them. Should the Department of Education make colleges offer more full-time sign-making courses or even degrees? Let us know your news.

Email your views to Harry@linkpublishing.co.uk or call me on 0117 9805 040. Or react to the story on Twitter and have your say.

If you have an interesting story or a view on this news, then please e-mail news@signlink.co.uk

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