Introducing...Tibi Murariu

Tibi Murariu

We spoke to Tibi Murariu, a Paragon apprentice based at PCC Dagenham.

Hello Tibi! So, what’s your role and what does that involve?

I’m in training at the moment, as part of my Paragon apprenticeship. So that involves being taught how to use various bits of equipment that we have here in Dagenham – how they work, what you need to look out for, that kind of thing.

Great! What brought you to Paragon in the first place?

Before this, I was working in construction, but I was finding it difficult. When you’re younger on a building site, people take the mick and don’t want to help you learn. They give you all the difficult jobs and just sit there. My uncle works on site here too as a mailer operator, and he told me to send my CV in, and I got accepted. That was two years ago. I knew I’d have to work my way up, but that’s ok.

How are you finding it so far?

I managed to pick some things up quite quickly. I think that’s because the people here are really helpful - they won’t give you all the hard work and leave you on your own. Everyone’s treated equally. At first I started by just moving pallets around in the warehouse, then my uncle took me under his wing and I started to learn how to use the folding machine, running jobs on that, and eventually I’ve started working on the mailer with him. He’s a Number One at the moment and I’m a Number Two. Number Ones are the people who check the work to see if it’s right, whether the fold’s correct on a print job – that kind of thing.

At the start it was confusing. To be fair to him, my uncle’s not much of a teacher, he’s an operator. But what I do isn’t a job that you can just pick up by listening – you have to watch and learn for yourself, asking questions about why things are done in a certain way. But as I said, everyone’s really helpful, and in a way, you start learning by making mistakes. Something will go wrong and I’ll ask why it’s happened, then they’ll help and explain what we need to do to fix it. If I’ve got a question, I ask for help and they give it.

Very glad to hear it! Does the apprenticeship involver some classroom-based stuff or is it all practical?

A lot of it’s practical, but once a month we’ll also be going into the classroom – the first session was just last week. How you get your apprenticeship depends on you completely - you can get it done in 15 months, or 24 if it takes you longer. At the end you get your Level 3 Certificate, which means you’re qualified. At the end of the course I’ll be a Number One, on the same level as my uncle.

I’m sure he’ll be delighted when that happens! What else do you think you’re getting out of the apprenticeship?

The development over these two years has been great. I’ve learned a lot, from knowing nothing about what we do here to having the knowledge I do now. Things like specific printing terms, what to look for, the colours, setting up machines, the processes involved, and how paper works. There are so many different types of print. Before I came here when my uncle told me about it, I thought print was really simple, but it’s more than just paper and colours.

It’s a big industry and it’s fun. Some jobs are fun to set up, some are a pain, but you can’t just have all the good jobs. Sometimes on the mailing machines you’ve got 12 or 13 units, with paper going in all directions. You sit there and look at it going through and it’s amazing.

Every month here, we get a big job for Screwfix and I end up doing it. This month we’ve printed 2.2 million pieces for them, and I take pride in getting that job done from start to finish. My supervisor Rich came to me and said I’d done really well, and told me that this is my job from now on. I had a laugh with my uncle – I told him I’m Number One now!

That’s brilliant. Anyway I’m going to move on from work and I’ll some other less important questions. What did you have for tea last night?

I had a McDonalds – a Big Mac meal.

And what drink did you have with that sir?

I had a bottle of water.

Very healthy. What’s your favourite biscuit and why?

I don’t really like biscuits to be honest. I like doughnuts though. I had one the other day that was brilliant – it was a glazed cheesecake donut from Dunkin Donuts.

Good answer. Where's your favourite place you’ve been?

Last year I went to Barcelona. It was nice, though literally as I flew there everything went into lockdown. All the clubs and everything were closed. I went with one of my mates, it was nice and hot, and even though the city locked down when I arrived it was good to be in a different environment and culture. We were still able to do a few things – we went on that cable car that goes from the Olympic venue down to the beach, which was pretty good.

Nice! Who’s your hero?

It used to be Thierry Henry when I followed football, but I don’t really any more. I still play a bit with my mates on a Sunday in Power League though.

Do you have any irrational phobias?

I really don’t like heights. I don’t mind being high up exactly, but even being on something like a balcony isn’t great. It’s the feeling of looking down from a height that I don’t like. Then again, I get on roller coasters and I’m ok. And that cable car in Barcelona wasn’t great because it sways from side to side a bit, but I was with my mates and didn’t want them to notice.

That’s the spirit! Anyway Tibi, I’ll let you get back to work. Thanks for your time!