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Pre-Press Trades Worker

Pre-press Trades Workers work with both traditional press techniques and new digital press technologies. These individuals manipulate, set, and compose graphics and texts into a formal suitable for traditional print publications and other visual media forms. Knowledge of both standard and new digital forms of print is necessary.

Duties and tasks

  • May work directly with customers to discuss proofs and edit them as necessary
  • Perform a variety of tasks to aid in the transformation of images and texts into finished pages and ready them for print
  • Receive images from graphic designers at the company or directly from customers to create finished printing plates
  • Use direct-to-plate systems to send text/images directly to a plating system
  • Workers in small print shops prepress, press, and bind and finish printed materials

Skills required

  • Comfortable meeting deadlines, even under pressure
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written)
  • Excellent manual dexterity
  • Good color vision, accurate eyesite
  • Many pre-press workers receive on-the-job training in traditional and digital press forms
  • The successful completion of a 2-year associate program or higher (increasingly, postsecondary graphic communications technology training) with a combination of work experience in the printing industry and formal training in new digital technologies is preferred

Working conditions

Pre-press Workers typically work in clean, quiet, and comfortable areas. Some may develop minor backaches or experience eyestrain from sitting or standing in front of a video display terminal all shift, however. Platemakers may work with toxic chemicals and face the possibility of skin irritations and often work under tight deadlines and may experience stress. Some pre-press workers (especially those who work for newspapers) may work night shifts, and holiday work and weekends may be mandatory as well.

Professional associations / Industry information

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
Graphic Arts Services Association of Australia
Innovation & Business Skills Australia (IBSA)
Printing Industries Association of Australia

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