A career in label printing sticks to apprentice

November 4, 2022

Levi Lindsey was surprised as anyone when he found himself in the printing industry and loving it.

After leaving school Levi was motivated to find a promising career and moved from Hamilton to Auckland with an open mind. Nothing offered him the challenge he was looking for until he started work at Adhesif Labels Limited in East Auckland. Now he is undertaking an apprenticeship towards a New Zealand Certificate in Print – Reel-fed Printing (Level 4) qualification and is confident he has found his career path.

Established in 1981, Adhesif Labels are one of New Zealand’s leading specialist commercial printers. They produce a range of self-adhesive labels for local and international companies, across many product sectors. The variety of work, processes and sheer knowledge required in the print industry is what Levi finds attractive about the job.

“I’ve always liked a challenge but found in most workplaces, it doesn’t take long to hit the ceiling and find you have learnt most of what there is to know.

“The print industry is one with many paths to take and skills to master, so I quickly found myself drawn to starting an apprenticeship and learning all I could.”

Adhesif Labels Limited have a staff of 97 and six apprentices in training. Production Manager Russell Westray says Levi came on board in an introductory role but made an impression very early on, displaying a good attitude and work ethic. He progressed out of the post-press department, to pre-press, then onto a role as a print assistant where he proved himself.

“We identified that Levi would be an asset, on a technical level he is clever and picked things up quickly like the tool filing and ink mixing.

“Levi has also established himself as having one of the best quality records in the company, he doesn’t take shortcuts.”

Russell mentions the importance of on-the-job training and acknowledges the long-serving employees who openly share their knowledge to support the apprentice’s training programme. He is proud of the company’s sharing culture and is seeing it continue through to the younger generation now with Levi’s ability to train others.

Levi’s position as a printing apprentice began ‘on the press’ learning right from day one. Partnered with an experienced printer, he observed, and then performed basic operations of the printing press, before rotating day-on-day off printing and assisting his partner.

A challenge Levi didn’t anticipate on in the middle of his apprenticeship was the COVID-19 pandemic. With a young family, he was faced with challenges at home and work, admitting that the bookwork hasn’t been the highlight of his apprenticeship. Levi credits the regular support of his Competenz training advisor to keep him focused and on track, especially through that tough period.

“I have enjoyed the structure and timeframes laid out by Competenz in my apprenticeship, and with the aid of my advisor Grant Alsop I’ve had both the resources and time needed to develop my knowledge.

“Through the COVID-19 period, the shared phone calls from Grant kept me focused when everything seemed doom and gloom.”

As Levi’s training advisor, Grant has been impressed with both Levi’s commitment to the apprenticeship and like Russell, acknowledges Levi’s eye for detail, which is important for the type of high-quality work that his company produces.

“Levi has been engaged right from day one presenting well-researched quality bookwork that provides good evidence showing his understanding of the work he does.

“We often have some good discussions about the assignments he has completed which confirms his knowledge.”

Close to completing his qualification now and looking forward, Levi says he wants to keep furthering his abilities and knowledge in the printing industry. He is also very keen to be involved in training new staff and apprentices too, saying it’s something he both enjoys and gets personal satisfaction from.

Levi’s advice to others thinking about embarking on an apprenticeship is not to wait, emphasising that you are never alone in the process.

“With the help of Competenz and your employer, you will gain the practical skills and confidence to be the best you.”

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