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Offset printer

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Summary of occupation

Offset printers run, manage and maintain offset printing machines, which are used to print newspapers, magazines, catalogues, brochures, stationery and books. They fasten printing plates onto printing presses, place the paper, plastic or other printing stock in the printing press, prepare inks by mixing colours, and control other functions of the press such as ink flow, cutting and folding mechanisms. They start and operate printing presses, as well as oiling and cleaning them, and make minor repairs to presses. Offset printers work in cities and towns around Western Australia, printing items that are distributed state wide.

ANZSCO description: Sets up and operates small offset printing presses used in instant print shops or for in-house printing.
Alternative names: Printer, Reel-fed Printer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An offset printer needs:

  • problem-solving skills
  • creative and artistic flair
  • good eyesight with normal colour vision
  • to enjoy practical and manual work
  • good problem solving skills
  • an eye for detail
  • a mechanical aptitude
  • the ability to work to strict deadline
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Working conditions

Offset printers work in the factory and workshop spaces of printing companies. Conditions may be noisy due to printing machinery and dirty due to the large volumes of ink used in the printing process. They usually work in shifts, which may include early mornings, late nights, or weekends and public holidays.

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Salary details

On average, offset printers, classified under printers, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an offset printer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Offset printers work with offset printing presses, as well as the blankets and impression cylinders that make up the presses, and the offset printing plates, which may be made of paper, aluminium or plastic. Offset printers also handle the the paper, ink and water that are used in offset printing methods, as well as using gauges and measuring devices. They also need to wear protective gear such as earmuffs, safety goggles and gloves.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an offset printer you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The print machinist (pad) apprenticeship takes 42 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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