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Northern Flags and FaberExposize UK leading the way for getting young talent into print.

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

As a result of round table meetings and various conversations between FESPA UK members, it is clear that there is lack of fresh blood coming into the printing industry.

FESPA UK have acknowledged the lack of young talent that the printing industry is attracting as a whole. One of the main goals at FESPA UK is to combat this and to bring young blood into the industry and make it more appealing to the younger generation as a career option. FESPA UK members are now in agreement and are beginning to step up to the mark and are making pro-active changes to change this.

We interviewed Iain Clasper-Cotte, managing director of Northern Flags and FaberExposize UK, and Iva Dobreva who is their Marketing executive. Iva was hired by Iain after gaining a degree in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds, and completing a 12 month industrial placement at Cannon UK, which allowed Iva tap into PR, social media and internal communications which she really enjoyed. Iva was keen to gain experience in Marketing so sought-after gaining experience within FaberExposize UK and Northern Flags.

Iain said “Iva approached us looking for pre-graduation work experience. When we talked to her it was obvious that Iva had a real ambition for her career, and we therefore knew that by giving her an initial two days work experience we would benefit and so would she. Unfortunately, our Marketing Manager who Iva was meant to be supporting left us shortly after she started her part-time role with us. This did not seem to phase Iva and she demonstrated clear initiative, self-learning and work ethic which meant in two days she was delivering what we would get from an experienced Marketing Executive working full-time. As a result, when she graduated, we were keen for her to stay with us in a full-time position.”

It is clear that Iva and her talent within marketing has brought a real presence to not only FaberExposize UK and Northern flags but the printing industry on a whole and has been recognised by the UK Graphic awards and given the Rising Star award for 2022. Her career has only just started to blossom and its something that is set to develop as time goes on.

Iva commented: “At the moment, I’m still working on familiarising myself with all the different fabrics, manufacturing processes and print vocabulary. I definitely see myself in a creative role as I enjoy writing, taking photos and creating different image designs for social media. I haven’t got a clear plan on how to develop my career, but I’m prioritising gaining as much experience as I can, which would help me develop as a professional – the rest will hopefully fall into place.”

In terms of developing her role and marketing Iva has a clear mindset and a fresh and vibrant approach: “We’ve been experimenting with paid campaigns on social media, which was something that hadn't been done previously at the company. We’re also looking to get a lot more hands-on with current and prospective clients – so we’re not just targeting them digitally with marketing emails, blogs, and social media posts, but we’re also using direct marketing to reach out to them. There’s a lot to experiment with, and a lot of it is trial and error – you never know what will work until you try it.”

With regards to other like-minded companies following suit, we are only at the start and there is a lot of work to be done in order to attract more young talent such as Iva to the printing industry and help develop their careers. Iain said:

“We are working with FESPA UK on several initiatives to encourage young talent to join our industry and to create greater skill sharing within the industry. This is done through organising training experiences and work swaps with not only competitors but also our sister companies in Europe. We think it’s particularly important to be able to offer a proper career path for young people like Iva so that they know if they work beyond the definition of their job, they can grow their career and their learning potential. When young talent demonstrates its capabilities then it’s in the company’s interest to facilitate their growth."


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