Pre-Press Operator
Northend Creative Print Solutions

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Neil W

0.00.00 My name’s Neil W. I’m a Pre-Press Operator and I work in JW Northend in Sheffield. My job entails getting artwork that’s supplied to us whether it be via CD or disc or FTP from a client, processing it to get to a stage of proofing where we can sign it off and plate it over to be printed on presses. Every year we have a client come back that runs a cottage, a holiday and I do their brochure every year, year in year out.

0.00.30 The client comes back every year and requests that I do his job which gives me the satisfaction that I must be doing something right and giving him a good quality that he likes at the end of the day. Both my brothers are engineers. My father was a mining engineer so they’ve all got an engineering and it didn’t really appeal to me as at school and as a young kid I was just like drawing and painting things like that, so I wanted to do something with that and design. My parents have been very, very supportive throughout.

0.01.00 They’ve followed me, whatever I wanted to do they’ve been behind me and given me 100% of the backing. They’ve been really good so it’s been spot on really. I wasn’t very academic at school really. I didn’t really enjoy maths and that sort of thing. I was more into art design and CDT and things with my hands I was really good at. My cousin really influenced me when I was younger and he went into graphic design and he now works in London as a graphic designer and that really inspired me to, that’s what I wanted to become an artist really, do something with graphics.

0.01.30 When I left school I went to college for three years. I did a year doing an art design at National MVQ. Then I did a further two years doing graphic design at BTEC national diploma. It was so much different to school. It was superb. Really enjoyable and it was something that you wanted to do, they treat you like an adult as opposed to being a pupil at school and it was really good. My lecturer knew of a job that was going from one of his old students and luckily enough I finished college on a Friday.

0.02.00 Started work at his place on the Monday morning. I think it was, looking back now I think it was nightclub flyers, designing nightclub flyers and things like that, and menus for big corporate pub chain. That was really good. I was with those for four years. The lecturer back at college gave me a big boost with knowing my capabilities and know that probably I was one of the best out of the group of the year to give me this opportunity, this job that he recommended for really. So it was really good.

0.02.30 Then I moved to another company, I was there for two months and I got made redundant from that company but luckily Nigel, the MD of this company bought out all their clients and bought out that company so in real it was luck that I ended up at this place, at Northend and it’s been a real big boost cos I’ve been here now for nine years. Really enjoy it. Really for me redundancy was a blessing. I got this job that I probably wouldn’t have ended up here without the redundancy. Outside of work I’m very sporty. I like my sports, my football, I love football.

0.03.00 Like walking, going out on the pits, getting out and about, socialising, being with friends, being with family. Probably the biggest incident in my life that stands out the most is getting married in Cuba in 2006. There were 17 of us over there, beautiful island, Caucaocoke off the north coast of Cuba. We spent a fortnight there which incorporated like the honeymoon and everything and it was idyllic. It was fantastic. I was born in a little place called Shuttlewood and I was born actually in the same room

0.03.30 in the same house as my grandma was born which she would be in her hundreds now. She was a big rock of the family. She was a big inspiration to me. She was very musical. She could hear a tune, go away, get on the piano and play it instantly. She was superb. That really gave me my life and push to say that your life as long as it is and you’ve just got to live it to the full. I’m really lucky that I can do a job that I really enjoy that’s part of my, one of my hobbies growing up and still hobby now drawing and painting.

0.04.11 In the future I see myself still being here, maybe a Production Manager or in charge of the pre-press department where I’m at now, it’s a really fantastic place to work.

Neil W is a Pre-Press Operator at JW Northend. He takes the artwork from clients and prepares it for printing. He loves graphic design and went to College for 3 years. He has progressed from designing club flyers to his current job – with a ‘lucky redundancy’ along the way.

More information about Pre-press technicians

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

80%  male 
20%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Pre-press technicians prepare, format and compose text and graphics in a form suitable for use in a variety of print processes.
There are no formal academic requirements although some employers may require GCSEs/S grades. Training is typically received on-the-job. Apprenticeships are available as well as BTEC certificates and diplomas and other vocational courses at NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3.
  • Determines from specification the kind and size of type to be used;
  • Uses computer applications to generate images and text;
  • Scans and retouches digital images to create sample proofs, plans and lays out artwork to match planned design;
  • Examines proof copies, checks for quality and accuracy and makes any necessary alterations;
  • Processes filmsetting or desktop publishing output to produce image on film and transfers to printing plates and digital output;
  • Arranges and pastes printing material onto paper ready for photographing.
Employment by region
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Publishing activities 1669
Printing & recording 1432
Employment status

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