Printing machinist

What they do

Printing machinists set up and operate the large industrial machinery that is used in the printing industry. A Printing Machinst's involvement with these machines may involve fixing plates and loading inks into the machine, undertaking repairs or maintenance, and checking the consistency of the machine's results. They may also clean the machine and the surrounding work area.

Working conditions

Printing machinists generally work in industrial printing factories with large machines, which may be loud, dirty, or require the person operating them to get dirty, with the potential for ink to be spilled. Depending on what kind of printing they are involved in, they may need to work irregular hours, depending on the deadlines for work and the desired shelf-date or time of the publication they are printing.

Tools and technologies

Printing machinists work primarily on and with large industrial printing machinery like letterpress, lithographic, flexographic and gravure printing presses (including both single and multi-colour presses), other machines that cut, fold, staple, stitch and trim paper, and binding machines for bringing all the elements of a publication together as a finished product.

Printing machinists are also generally required to be familiar with the materials onto which they may be printing, including different types of paper and card, or other materials like plastics or metal. They may also be required to work with a range of other materials that assist in the printing process, such as numerous inks, oils and gums, and lubricants that keep the machine in good running order.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a printing machinist you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship in printing. The apprenticeship usually takes 42 months to complete. 

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

Learn more about your study options.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing