In the printing industry, training was traditionally through the completion of an apprenticeship lasting many years. From early in the nineteenth century, new processes developed and although in the early years training was similarly ‘on the job’.

Later, college courses developed, some with the backing of the unions and/or employers. By the mid-twentieth century a printing apprenticeship would include attendance at college. Although some courses might involve attendance at college for a block of time, or on day-release, some apprentices attended night school after completing their day’s work. A number of training films were made, such as a vocational film about the printing trade (1947) and an introduction to typesetting (1959).

Institutions in Scotland with links to industry training include:

For many years, Heriot-Watt College, as it then was, was responsible for training printers in Edinburgh. The syllabus of classes offered during the first World War shows the range of subjects offered. In addition, printing classes in Edinburgh were run by Edinburgh Typographia from the late 1880s: you can download the syllabus for the session 1891-1892 [PDF 11.7Mb] and William Maxwell’s Address to the Edinburgh Typographia, given in 1935 [PDF 5.9Mb]