Latest News Celebrations for apprentice Ryan
As we marked the first work anniversary of our most recent apprentice Ryan we took the opportunity to ask him to say a few words about his year so far and his ambitions for the future.
So Ryan, I can’t believe it has been a year already, I can remember the day we interviewed you like it was yesterday. Time has flown! Firstly, can I ask what lead you to make the move into the print industry and why you thought you’d like working at Beautiful? What was it that appealed to you?
After working as a chef for seven years I decided I wanted to retrain and explore a change of career. I enjoy using my hands to make things and the print industry stood out to me as it seemed exciting, interesting and ever-changing.
I found the apprenticeship advertised on Indeed, applied and was lucky enough to be interviewed. I met with Michael and Aimee who were super-friendly and I also got to meet some of the rest of the team – when I left I remember feeling that Beautiful epitomised my perception of a fun, dynamic workplace. I also felt that it would provide a good foundation from which I could learn and propel my career forward. I was raring to get my teeth into the role and all the new challenges and experiences it would bring, so was pretty happy when I got the call to say I’d got the job – and to honest I haven’t looked back since!
Over the year you have learnt so much and have contributed since day one – all whilst finding time to do your coursework and complete your Business Apprenticeship with Sussex College. No mean feat! What would you say were some of the biggest challenges that you have faced? What have been the high points for you?
In the early days at Beautiful, I was mostly observing my colleagues roles and in charge of over-seeing picking lists and packing. I soon learnt how to use the Mimaki Vinyl Cutter and mastered kiss-cutting vinyl, weeding and applying application tape to them. At that point, I was able to own a job from start to finish and feel like I was contributing and being useful. Ever since then I have been picking up knowledge about the other printers and finishing equipment, as well as mastering my finishing skills – although I have been told my knife skills were pretty impressive from day one, something to do with years working in a kitchen perhaps?
My biggest challenges? Well to be honest every day at Beautiful brings with it big challenges, as no two jobs or days are ever the same. Whether I am learning how to work with new materials or equipment or simply co-ordinating with colleagues to ensure we meet important deadlines, I am constantly working to adapt and overcome new obstacles. This suits me perfectly as it keeps things interesting! Overcoming obstacles and learning new skills brings with it a daily sense of achievement in itself and also builds my knowledge for the future.
At Beautiful, we all work hard to learn good working habits and to live and breathe our values each day. How have you put your mark on this and played your part in helping create a more joyful print experience and an enjoyable place to work?
Beautiful already have an established culture that no one should make any assumptions and instead ask more questions – this has meant that from day one I have never once felt a nuisance. It has also resulted in me spotting the odd potential artwork or production issues before they became of cost to the company or the client. We also have an end of day tidy down which is a habit I was already familiar with from working in kitchens – but to be honest I like to tidy as I go which seems to be a habit others in production have started to pick up too. I guess so far I feel I have made my mark by taking a lead in the organisation of the print and stock room and creating a more efficient workplace for myself and colleagues. I have just had a new project approved by management too that will see me exploring our options to make Beautiful more ‘Green’ with a view to reduce our single-use plastic packaging where possible. Helping to reduce our collective carbon footprint and impact on the planet is something we all should be striving towards and I’m grateful to share those values with Beautiful.
As we celebrate your work anniversary and look ahead for this year, do you have any ambitions? For example, if you were to look back this time next year what would you have liked to achieve?
I’m very ambitious in terms of my career and I hope Beautiful can continue to match this! Long-term as the company continues to expand as a business, I want to be ready to take opportunities for progression as they arise. Short-term I want to continue building upon my experience and knowledge of the industry whilst taking on some more new projects and challenges. In the middle of 2019, we were all entrusted with new areas of speciality, I enjoyed the extra responsibility and could have more influence on the performance of my areas. Now in 2020 we are having a big push to minimise waste, which includes using offcuts and exploring repurposing as much as possible. For example, I am collecting vinyl offcuts which we donate to the Children’s Respite Trust for the children to use to create art. I guess along with my packaging project it would be nice to look back in a year and also feel like I have made a big difference in those new areas too.
Finally, at Beautiful we are constantly learning and asking ‘what can we do better?’. Continuing in that spirit, do you feel 100% supported by your colleagues and management? What should we keep doing as a team? Any suggestions for what we could do better?
I feel supported by my colleagues in terms of my progression and their willingness to help with any issues I might have, re-enforcing the team mentality is so important for us. We try to have regular team catch-ups on a Monday morning where we can talk about what is coming up that week and can offer support to each other. Also, my Line Manager has an informal week-to-week check in with me to make sure everything is going okay. In addition, everyone has a quarterly review which looks at our performance and explores what training or support we might need to aid our progression. Both the check-in’s and reviews provide us with an opportunity to share any frustrations or any inefficiencies that we might experience in our roles from time-to-time so that we can work with management to fix them. At Beautiful there is very much the mentality that ‘ Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result’, with this in mind we understand that feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Everybody contributing and pulling in the same direction is essential and long may that continue!