Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Bell & Bain this week and met with apprentices at the Glasgow book printer.
The visit came about after Bell & Bain sales director Derek Kenney met Sturgeon at a publishing event.
“We were involved with sponsoring a Society of Young Publishers event in Edinburgh, and Nicola Sturgeon was a keynote speaker,” Kenney said.
“She came across as genuinely very passionate about books and reading, so I nabbed her at the end of the event and said there was a world-class book printing facility on her doorstep and she should come along and see it, and she did!”
Kenney said that Sturgeon was keen to hear about the firm’s apprenticeship programme. The 123-staff £14.3m turnover company currently has 11 apprentices, including level three apprentice James Taylor, who was running Bell & Bain’s eight-colour Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145 large-format litho press during Sturgeon’s visit.
“She was very engaging and genuinely interested in seeing how books are manufactured, and in our staff, particularly the apprentices and the fact that we have quite a lot of female staff as well,” Kenney added.
Bell & Bain runs a wide raft of litho and digital printing kit, including a new Ricoh Pro VC60000, and also has extensive in-house bindery capabilities. The firm has established a reputation as a high-quality producer of short turnaround colour books and journals in paperback and hardback formats.
It recently acquired fellow Glasgow print firm 21 Colour.
Taylor was shortlisted by Skills Development Scotland for apprentice of the year across all SME companies in Scotland.
Fiona Buchannan, a first-year apprentice at Bell & Bain was also among the winners at the recent Print Futures Awards.