Manufacturing & Production

Printing Machinist

Printing machinists set up and operate printing machinery to produce packaging, stationery, greeting cards, books and newspapers.

  • Entry-level education


  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Printing Machinist do?

Printing machinists set up and operate different types of printing presses and machinery, to produce a range of printed products including packaging, stationery, greeting cards, books and newspapers.


Work activities

As a printing machinist, you would:

  • make printing plates
  • fit printing plates or cylinders on presses, mix the inks that are applied to them and adjust the colour flow to the image
  • adjust the paper-feeding devices that separate and feed sheets through the printing machine
  • monitor machines and print quality
  • carry out minor repairs and routine maintenance
  • work with single and multi-colour printing processes
  • operate various specialised printing machines offset, digital, and high-speed, wide-format equipment

Key skills and interests

To become a printing machinist, you would need:

  • good practical skills and hand-to-eye coordination
  • excellent appreciation for detail and design
  • normal colour vision
  • good problem-solving skills
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • ability to operate a range of mechanical and computer controlled printing machinery
  • the ability to meet deadlines.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In a full-time role, you would normally work a standard number of hours per week, possibly on a shift basis which may include nights.


You could work in a variety of settings, from small workshops to large printing warehouses or newspaper printing plants. Your workplace could be hot and noisy, depending on the type and age of the machinery.

You may need to wear protective clothing and equipment due to the chemicals and solvents used in some printing processes.


How to become an Printing Machinist?

Entry Level Education

To become a printing machinist you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Printing and Graphic Arts (Print). Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or euqivalent.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of printing machinists is projected to continue to decline.

The rising popularity and accessibility of online publications has adversely affected demand for printed newspapers, directories, books and magazines, and other types of printed materials such as annual reports and financial documents. This trend has led to a sharp decline in demand for services that printers provide, and to a strong decline in employment opportunities for printing machinists.


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