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Applications have opened for the 2017 Print Futures Awards, which provide cash grants of R27 000 to young people wishing to pursue a career in printing or associated industries.

The Awards, which are administered and co-sponsored by The Printing Charity, are open to those aged 18 to 30 to help them cover the cost of training and courses in printing, publishing, journalism, packaging and graphic arts.
Awards are offered to people wishing to begin careers in those industries as well as to those who are already working in the sector and wish to develop their skills.
“The reason we want to get more people involved who are already working in the sector is that we want to celebrate the great things that are already happening in print to attract young people, because they are the future of the industry,” said Printing Charity chief executive, Neil Lovell.
“That’s why we encourage people that are already training or on apprenticeships in the sector to enter, not just those coming out of university looking to start a career in print.”
Applicants must be UK citizens and can be either studying or intending to study for a printing, publishing, packaging or graphic arts qualification; already working in print and wanting to undertake a course to improve their skills; or on an apprenticeship or studying for NVQs in print-related organisations.
Those studying for NVQs or apprenticeships can also use the grants to cover living costs while doing internships or unpaid work placements.
Lovell is especially keen to encourage more apprentices or trainees from print SMEs to enter the Awards.
“There are lots of smaller businesses that are doing great things developing their people, and this is a chance for them to say that they believe in their trainees, and if they win one of the grants it could help that trainee to achieve even more in the industry,” he said.
Last year the programme awarded a record 50 grants from 88 applications, up from 37 in 2015 (from 80 applications) and 24 in 2014. This year the charity hopes to find 75 winners.
Previous years’ co-sponsors Saxoprint, The Book Trade Charity and Unite the Union GPM & IT Sector have all signed up again, as have supporters the BPIF, St Bride Foundation and the Journalists’ Charity.
The deadline for applications is 30 April 2017.  Application forms can be downloaded from www.theprintingcharity.org.uk/print-futures-awards-2017. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in London in early June by a panel of judges from across the relevant industries and winners will be presented with their awards in London on 20 July.
Grants totaling R4 437 000 have been disbursed among 157 young people since 2009.