Lithographic print room workers create and prepare the metal plates that are used to produce printed books, magazines and other items.
A career in lithography typically requires high school education. GCSEs in art and design, photography and technology are therefore helpful. BTEC National Diplomas in art and design may put candidates at an advantage. In addition to formal qualifications, print room workers require mechanical aptitude, attention to detail, creativity, and knowledge of desktop publishing and graphic art. It may be possible for prospective lithographers to enter into print room jobs through securing themselves a place on an apprenticeship scheme following leaving school with GCSEs. Apprenticeship schemes provide on-the-job training and an opportunity to work towards NVQs and other industry-specific qualifications.
Printing companies are the main employers of lithographic print room workers. Printing companies are mainly found in London, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol. Print room workers usually work 37 hours a week. Overtime may be required as projects tend to be subject to tight deadlines. Employment openings are often advertised in trade publications, such as PrintWeek, and through specialist recruitment agencies.
New lithographic print room staff may start on salaries of around £16,000 a year. Experienced workers, meanwhile, may earn around £23,000 a year. Skilled professionals who keep themselves up-to-date with the latest developments in lithographic technology may be able to progress in their careers, moving into either supervisory or cost estimator positions.