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Apprentice Journeys

Graham Bromley, Deputy Managing and Operations Director, Hobbs

Graham Bromley, Deputy Managing and Operations Director, Hobbs

Apprenticeships have consistently formed a key strategy for Hobbs over many years as an effective way of training and developing skilled staff and in many cases future members of our Management Team.

I was recruited in the autumn of 1976 almost a year before I left school; the phrase ‘we are more interested in you, than you are in us' was a winner and caught my attention and imagination.

In August 1977 I joined the team in our Bindery and started day release at the College of Art in Southampton a month later. What became apparent very quickly to me was that as an Apprentice at Hobbs, I had access to a range of the latest equipment that was very different to most of my fellow students. My studies brought me into contact with other apprentices from a wide spectrum of businesses in the south of England which provided me with a perspective that I would have struggled to find any other way.

Very early in my career I was told by our then Works Manager ‘that I was going nowhere until I understood how they (the Production Team) felt. They were wise sentiments that I have appreciated more and more as years have gone by. The range of skills gained and the opportunity to demonstrate them gave me opportunities to be noticed - I became a solution to multiple problems rather than simply another operator. This flexibility allowed me to first take over responsibility for our despatch department just a few months after completing my apprenticeship. Two years later I became Bindery Shift Supervisor and four years after that I transferred to Pre-Press to become Pre-Press Foreman and then Repro Manager.
Six years in Pre-Press provided the opportunity to deal directly with clients and build effective relationships with many key accounts. This left me ideally placed to take on the role of Deputy Works Manager, then Works Manager and in 1997 Operations Director.

There are five former apprentices in our current Management Team and many others holding key positions in our Bindery, Pressroom and Digital Print Room and Software Development Team. This training is as relevant to our business today as ever and we continue to recruit and train apprentices on a rolling basis.

In my view an apprenticeship is the perfect opportunity to learn skills, gain underpinning knowledge about our industry, build a network of friends and contacts and demonstrate your ability to your employer in a way that other training simply can't deliver.

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