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January 16, 2024



“Attracting new skilled workforce for quality jobs in the European graphic industry” is a European project financed by the European Commission under the Social Dialogue programme.

The toolkit developed  gives advice about finding and attracting new employees to the print, print packaging and graphic communications sector, and keeping them in our industry. It is part of the EU-funded project: ‘Attracting a New Skilled Workforce for Quality Jobs in the European Graphic Industry’1 (hereafter referred to by its short title: Print Your Future).

The toolkit has been designed as a best practise guide for stakeholders in Europe with an interest in finding and attracting employees to the print, print packaging and graphic communications sector, and subsequently keeping them in our industry.

This guide issues advice for raising the profile and attractiveness of our sector, as well as pointing to concrete examples of best practices from across Europe. The guide is not exhaustive, but will give readers inspiration and ideas about how to improve the image of print in in particular when it comes to recruitment and employment.

Print is an enormous sector and an important contributor to Europe’s economy – both now and for the future.

A fundamental asset of the printing industry is its workforce, and a new generation of print professionals is required to produce the products we all need, and to keep the sector sufficiently dynamic and agile in order to respond to challenges. It is crucial that businesses adapt and integrate new innovation. The lines between print, manufacturing, design, physical and interactive are blurred and standing still simply isn’t an option.

To guarantee the enduring competitiveness of the graphical sector in Europe, we must work together to promote the image of print and ensure we both equip and inspire future generations

In the toolkit you will find advice and guidance on how to:


There are lots of places where you can search for new employees, including websites, trade federations, trade unions, schools, colleges, and universities, print fairs, and job fairs. Look around for relevant events in your area which could help you to reach your target group. Cast a wide net: look both within and outside of vocational education and training providers. And remember, people in both older and younger age groups may have the profile you need.

To attract younger generations, it is crucial that you look at engaging potential candidates from an early age. Young people often start making decisions about their careers very early, so try to let them know about the career options that print can offer, and what it’s like to work in the industry. Opening up the conversation with young people and outlining the possible career paths is key.

Connecting and opening up to local schools, career advisors and organisations to raise the profile of your business within your community is important. Building these relationships is also a way in for recruitment promotion and raising the profile of the industry as a whole.


To attract and retain talent, you need to build an employee-focused company culture. Today’s workers demand a good work-life balance, clear career expectations and opportunities, and a value-driven environment. Ensuring that you are offering your current staff this kind of culture will help you to attract new people. One important tool that can help to build this culture is continuous communication and social dialogue in the company.


Strict, hierarchical workplaces are a thing of the past. Interesting jobs and meaningful work matter more than they did. You need to make sure your workforce understands and is part of the bigger picture.




The present report collects the main outcomes of the EU Social Dialogue Project “Print Your Future: Attracting a new skilled workforce for quality jobs in the European graphic industry” (hereafter “Print Your Future” or “PYF”). The project – which ran from February 2020 to January 20222 was funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion.

Print Your Future was designed and co-coordinated by the European social partners for the graphical sector: Intergraf – the European association representing employers, and UNI Europa Graphical – the European trade union representing workers. The project was also supported by four country experts: the Association of Estonian Printing and Packaging Industry – AEPPI (Estonia), Stuttgart Media University (Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart) (Germany), GOC (the Netherlands), and the Associação Portuguesa das Indústrias Gráficas e Transformadoras do Papel – APIGRAF (Portugal). Technical expertise for the project was ensured by Spin360.

The overall objective of the project was to promote and strengthen the attractiveness of the printing sector for young people, in order to favour both their entering and staying in the sector. The main goal was thus to implement activities aimed at promoting a modern, innovative and people-centred printing industry, to both inspire and attract future generations but also to retain young workers, including focusing on good working conditions, career development and workforce engagement.

This was done through the continuous development of knowledge and tools to support stakeholders in implementing concrete strategies to recruit and keep the next generation to the printing industry. In particular, the project was split into the following main Work Packages (WP)3:

  • Work Package 1 – Diagnosis: recruitment & employment of young Workers: problems, solutions, best practices & strategy;
  • Work package 2 – Capacity building & implementation;
  • Work package 3 – Promotion, dissemination & communication tools;
  • Work Package 4 – Final conference.

The report presents the results of the activities implemented under each Work Package, and consists of four main chapters, as follows:

  • Chapter 1, which provides an introduction to the project in terms of background and objectives and briefly describes the methodology that has been applied throughout the project;
  • Chapter 2, presenting the main findings, recommendations and best practices collected as part of the different project tasks;
  • Chapter 3, which specifically focuses on the project activities regarding sectoral communication and dissemination towards young people;
  • Chapter 4, which draws the main conclusions of the project and details further possible next steps and ways forward.


For more information on this project, visit the print your futures website 


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