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Apprentices keen on digital: PIAA (video)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015
By Print 21 Online Article

Printing apprentices at the forum in Melbourne, with AMWU`s Lorraine Cassin (l) and PIAA chief Bill Healey (r).

A revamped printing apprenticeship program has struck a chord with digital-savvy young people unwilling to commit to the traditional four-year apprenticeship.

Printing Industries CEO Bill Healey said that 230 apprentices now involved in the federally funded Future Print Apprenticeship Project – a two-year joint venture between Printing Industries and the AMWU – had confirmed the project’s strategy at the recent Future Print Apprentice Forum in Melbourne.

“The most encouraging feedback from students was that they were keen to adopt digital and other new technologies to help meet what they believe is a growing, but changing, demand from clients. The apprentices at the forum agreed that they could see a bright future ahead in the industry and were keen to be part of it. In fact, a number said that they not only wanted to progress in their trade, but also to build a wider career in the industry, working both here and overseas, and ultimately to own their own business. They showed a keen appreciation of the challenges ahead and a real enthusiasm for meeting them,” Healey said.

“The roles of the Future Print advisers in providing support to apprentices and their employers and the work we do with RTOs and employers to increase the level of support was highlighted as being of key importance, and while most apprentices are satisfied, it’s probably an area where things need to improve even more,” he said. “About 230 apprentices are now involved in the training system, with many well on their way to achieving their qualifications.”

Young people unwilling to commit to a set four-year traditional apprenticeship and both trainees and employers were keen to explore alternatives to off-site study blocks which left businesses short-handed and was particularly challenging for students from regional and rural areas, he said.

“The first challenge for the industry is to attract new people.  We know that the print and graphic communication sector is experiencing unprecedented change, and that the pace of change is, if anything, likely to accelerate rather than stabilise,” Healey said. “The challenge for us as an industry is to continue to attract, inspire, train and mentor people to take their place in the industry, even as that change is happening all around us.  But we have already seen great improvements through the establishment of this project, which has launched a number of communication and support activities for employers and job seekers via website resources, social media and direct contact with schools, businesses and other key stakeholders.

“This is particularly so with competency based training where apprentices are rewarded for hard work and dedication by being able to advance in their training. They enjoy pay progression as they reach each competency level at their own pace and this has greatly increased motivation and satisfaction.

“With mentors and supervisors identified as having a very large influence over the apprentice’s progress and their job satisfaction, the Future Print Mentoring Program we ran earlier, as well as the recently introduced Future Print Supervisor Training Courses, are clearly going to contribute positively to the ongoing success of industry training,” Healey said.

Future Print released a 15-minute video report from the National Apprentice Forum:


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