Judy is a Graphic Designer and Print Technician at Atlas Packaging. She did work experience at Atlas Packaging and then joined the company when she left school at 16. She has been working at Atlas for 9 years.

Our team designs packaging and processes artwork to make it suitable for printing. This also involves going down to the factory, making sure everything is printing as we wanted, that the artwork and the colours are overlapping nicely and that it looks good with the actual structure of the packaging.

My role is a mix of creative design and technical problem-solving. The people I work with are a really good team. We get to have a laugh, which makes the day more enjoyable, and we knuckle down when we need to.

I like being able to see the fruits of our labour. From designing the graphics on the computer to seeing the finished product in the flesh. I am always trying to achieve the best results I can for our clients. 

I like the technical aspect of my job, working on more challenging jobs. About once a month there’s a job that’s really tasking. We have to think about how we can break this down into the different aspects and create something beautiful and functional while taking into account things like the costings, which machines it’s going on and allowing for tolerances like colours and the fine detail. It’s like putting together a puzzle.

I really enjoy the community work we do. We made a cardboard DeLorean as a prop for a festival, we wanted kids to ditch their phones and play with the cardboard toys. It was lovely to have creative free rein and it got a great response.

When I was 14 I came on work experience here. I’ve always liked art and design but I hadn’t considered it as a career. I ended up starting an outdoor pursuit course after school, but a job opportunity came up here and because I’d done work experience and showed that I was keen, they reached out to me. I came in for an interview and got offered the job, so I quit my course and started working at Atlas. 

They put me through a college course as part of the role. It was one day per week graphics and design at Petroc.  I was also sent on a one day course in Birmingham, which was a good confidence builder for me to have to travel there on my own as a 16 year-old!

All the software and systems were new to me, so Atlas paid for some online courses for me. It was a job with training, mixed with in-house learning, which was perfect for me. Our team likes things to be done thoroughly, and I was able to learn their ways of working so it suited the business too. My role has grown over time and the work has gotten more and more challenging and evolved with the business. 

It was interesting learning social skills and how to be in a working environment, it’s really important to have the opportunity to do this. Things like asking people for advice when you don’t know something and how to send professional emails and do conference calls. Ultimately, it’s building relationships and it’s a good feeling when you’ve built the confidence to do it.

My advice to anyone interested in a role in graphics or design would be to develop some knowledge of the Adobe Suite – it’s the most common design software. It’s a perfect place to start if you want to develop your skills and there are free online tutorials.

Keep developing your interests in art and design, and do things like work experience. Then you can decide what sort of role or company will suit you best.