Vic printing industry action group ‘betrayed’ by RMIT
Two weeks to meet $1million demand by the college for equipment and learning assessment material in order for the industry to keep apprentice training alive.
An action group of concerned industry professionals including Roy Aldrich, Eastern Studios, Trevor Hone, Avon Graphics, Bob Yeates, National President of Country Press, Ron Paterson Regional Manager Victoria, and Bill Healey C.E.O. of Printing Industries were in urgent consultation with the Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Peter Hall, when they claim RMIT betrayed them by privatising the printing apprentice programme.
The group met with RMIT on several occasions in an endeavour to let Printing Industries take over the management and instruction rights of RMIT Printing School. The college maintains it wants the purpose built printing school at Brunswick to house design students.
According to Aldrich, RMIT’s take it or leave it offer to the group was … $350,000 for equipment plus $70,000 to remove the equipment and $8,000 per unit of competency for learning and assessment material. There are approximately 8 units of competency per Certificate III Apprenticeship.
The group maintains they are in continuing positive negotiations with the Minister who is assisting the industry to overcome the shock exit of RMIT Print from industry training.
A furious Aldrich says the group, with other printing industry advisors, acted as an advisory council to the college. An assurance was given that they would be able to bid to take over the training. They were meeting with the Minister when they heard the college had sold its International Centre of Graphic Technology (ICGT) learning and assessment material, and awarded the contract for industry training to CLB Training & Development.
“We haven’t given upon this. I’m very angry at the way this has turned out,” said Aldrich, who has been deeply engaged with industry training in Melbourne for decades. “We met with RMIT and told them that if they didn’t want to do it [apprentice training] then we would. They refused to let us have the building, which was built specifically for industry training and gave us two weeks to raise $1million to take over the equipment. That’s an impossible short deadline,” he said.
He claims the industry is in uproar about the decision and vowed to continue to fight. The apprentice scheme will continue for at least 18months while the students enrolled complete the course. No new apprentices will be enrolled at RMIT Printing from July 1, 2012.
“It is unbelievable. We’re very disappointed at the way RMIT handled the whole thing,” he said.
He is calling for industry support to rally against the decision and for the industry to regain control of its own training. “We have the support and backing of Bill Healey C.E.O of Printing Industries as well as the whole of the printing industry and we are determined to make a fight of it,” he said.
“The industry is determined with the help of the Minister to take back 60 years of apprentice training and successfully make the print school the best in Australia and the southern hemisphere. We must protect our industry from such a blatant disregard of this important backbone of the industry.”