Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Marie Kinsella-White from McDonald's to give some advice for people considering this job:

Marie Kinsella-White

Operations Consultant


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Marie Kinsella-White
The job that I do is highly specialised and the skills that I am required to have to do my job can only be acquired in our restaurant. However, by taking a job in McDonald's you are opening a career path to use those skills anywhere - the skills you acquire are very transferable. It doesn’t matter where you start, the opportunities are there.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Print Media Craftsperson
In Summary header image

Print Media Craftsperson

The work of the Print Media craftsperson is through four main production sectors - Prepress, Printing, Print Finishing, Carton Making.

It involves the setting up, operating and service printing presses to print quality images on paper, board, foil and film. As part of this work they operate machine settings, adjustments, diagnose and rectify faults on equipment, materials and processes, interpret computerised printing machine management system and platemaking. They also operate multi colour presses.

Print Media craftspersons require many skills including:
  • Knowledge of scientific principles underlying processes materials
  • A broad knowledge of materials, systems and procedures
  • Working with a range of instruments, machinery and specialised tools
  • Producing layouts, forme sets and operating forme making equipment
  • Planning and producing sample cartons
  • Setting and operating cutting machines, creasing machines and set and gluing machines
  • Operate quality control and implementing quality assurance procedures
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade. 

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Training header image

Phase 1: With Employer (Min. 6 weeks)

  • Induction Training
  • Introduction to Health & Safety
  • Introduction to Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Basic Skills 

Phase 2: Delivered in Educational Institute (22 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Induction
  • Personal Skills including Law
  • Digital Printing/I.T. Skills
  • Press Management
  • Lithographic Printing
  • Computerised Press Operation
  • Planning and Platemaking
  • Prepress Practical Skills
  • Originals and Reproduction
  • Computer to Plate Technology
  • Print Finishing and Carton Processes
  • Guillotines/Folding Magazine Work
  • Adhesive Binding/Carton Making
  • Related Theory
Phase 3: With Employer (Min. 11 weeks)
Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Institute (14 weeks)
Course Content:
  • Press Management
  • Lithographic Printing
  • Computerised Press Management System
  • Platemaking Flexographic & Gravure Printing Web - Off set Printing
  • Rotary Letterpress Printing
  • CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Equipment
  • Cutting/Creasing
  • Graphic Design Binding – CAD (computer aided design)
  • Digital Imaging Pre Press and Planning
  • Related Theory
Phase 5: With Employer (104 weeks - 2 years)

Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 3 years provided all phases are successfully completed.

On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Print Media

Personal Qualities header image

Working in the Print Industry, you must have the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Report and communicate effectively
  • Solve problems
  • Use your own initiative
  • Have an awareness of environmental issues
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
Note: A person wishing to become an apprentice Print Media Craftsperson must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.

Work Activities header image

  • Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
  • Seeing a job through from start to finish
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Understanding technical specifications
  • Being responsible for controlling or adjusting equipment
  • Be able to diagnose and rectify faults
  • Working with computer technology
  • Operating tools or machinery
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
  • Keeping accurate records or reports
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
  • Passing all your phase exams (theory, practical skills demonstrations)
  • Earning as you learn

Pay & Fees header image

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:


All other Trades




€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate









Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.

Entry Requirements header image

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.

The minimum educational requirements are: 

1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course 
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable 

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • IT - Information Technology Skills
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade O5 (grade C3 pre-2017) in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Note: Print Media Apprenticeship applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by SOLAS.

Career Opportunities header image

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession. 

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.

Occupation Profile header image

Progression Routes header image

Occupation Data

Print Media Craftsperson