Archive for June, 2010

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 7 July 2010

    More support for Bob McMillan, while Andy McCourt reckons Paul McGarity isn’t the only one with a claim to fame.

    Re: Charity work earns Bob McMillan Order of Australia medal
    I had the pleasure of working with Bob for over 10 years. During this time I saw a man of commitment and compassion who not only built a highly successful iconic business but was always working tirelessly behind the scenes to help others in need.  The Order of Australia medal was 100 per cent on the mark in recognising two of your major contributions to the printing industry and charity work.

    Congratulations and well-deserved Bob.

    Steven Murphy


    Re: The winds of change: 30 June 2010
    Congratulations to Digital Logic’s Paul McGarity for landing his star role in Underbelly, but can he or anyone else beat an Oscar-winning film appearance?

    In my callow youth I appeared in Fred Zinnemann’s A Man For All Seasons, which won six Oscars including Best Picture. Here I am as a courtier in King Henry VIII’s entourage visiting Sir Thomas Moore to request his first divorce. I’d like to claim I was selected from the cream of RADA or NIDA but, alas, they needed a well-trained dog and there he is, my beloved old mate Bing the labrador, who played the part of Moore’s favourite canine.

    The dog got ten quid a day. I got five. I have never recovered from the humiliation, and have never worn tights since.
    Andy McCourt


    Re: Day of digital is here: John Kirk

    It all very well for John to mention all of the people involved in the “Day of digital is here” article with some involved more than others; but he has failed to mention and acknowledge one very important person.  This person is Craig Rollins from TAFE who has worked at the coalface since the inception of the qualification at Clayton Utz.  Craig is also heavily involved in the mentioned “non-traditional print rooms in corporates and bureaus in Sydney.”  Let’s place a bit of credit where credit is due.

    Graeme Gould


    This story is very timely as it acknowledges the very significant impact of the digital technologies on this industry. It also recognises the effort that John Kirk has made as a very dedicated and committed contributor to the industry.
    John has always had a great passion for the digital sector and his participation and efforts have led to the development of qualifications in this area of print. The outcome of this will mean that a whole raft of people engaged in the industry and who are endeavouring to make a career of it will now in turn have their own skills fully recognised. This is a very positive outcome for this growing industry sector and those who have embraced it as a career path. So John’s effort have been farsighted and far-reaching .
    For anyone who visited PacPrint in 2008, the exhibition revealed the way the industry has grown and diversified as the new digital technologies have progressed past being just an emerging force. Instead this sector is today a mainstream player and contributor to the opportunities print offers to the print buyer. 
    Digital print has come a long way so the development of the qualifications to recognise and support it helps ensure it stability in its growth as it will make it stamp on the future shape of print. So the new qualifications have been a great outcome for those employed in it as well as for the industry itself.
    It is also appropriate to remember the combined efforts and involvement and teamwork that has helped shape the outcome. This includes the industrial parties, ie the print division of the AMWU and the employer group the PIAA, the Printing Industry Committee of the State ITAB and TAFE NSW as the training provider. Last, but by no means least, the National Industry Skills Council, IBSA who have helped shape the passage of digital print  into the national training framework.  
    Bob Snedden OAM

    Re: No time like show time to come together: McCourt’s eye
    Thank you for the kind comments. Trying to bring associations together and partner with diverse yet converging industries is something VISA has been working on for the last five years.

    Everyone wins, seeing more at the shows, making it more worthwhile for exhibitors and attendees, hopefully saving everyone money and time.

    Please watch this space as we are working on more combining of shows.

    Mark Tailby
    VISA President


  • Seeing is believing: watch Rapid X-2 Memjet label printer in action

    Readers will recall our raving about the home-grown inkjet label printers from Rapid Label Machinery shown on the Impression Technology stand at IPEX. Here, live from the world epicentre for digital labels – Chatswood, NSW – is proof of the speed and quality of Rapid’s Memjet-powered X-2 inkjet label press.

    To watch the press in action, click here.

  • For sale: Rilecart Semiautomatic Binding Machine TP-340

    Min 50mm Max 340mm Wire binding capability.  Output capacity 1200 pcs/h.

    Not used in over 3yrs and in good condition.

    Sell with x4 Black Wiro spools various size wire.

    Net weight 250kg.

    Make an offer $$$

    For further enquiries contact

    (03) 9684-1241

  • Kwik Kopy sets up shop in Tuggerah

    Franchise print group expands into NSW Central Coast.

    The store, which opened in late April this year, is owned by Greg Elsey, (pictured) who was previously employed as customer service manager for a packaging organisation, before starting his own business two years ago.

    “I was looking for something different and I realized I had a choice,” he explained. “I could look for another job or do something for myself.”

    Franchise businesses appealed to Elsey, who eventually settled on printing and design. “The printing industry … is a solid growth area,” he said. “Large or small, every business needs graphic design and printing services, so the sector has consistent and strong demand.”

    Elsey was also able to take advantage of Kwik Kopy Australia’s current New Owner Incentive Scheme whereby Kwik Kopy guarantees his income for a full year, as he has opened a brand new Kwik Kopy Centre.

    “The New Owner Incentive Scheme reduced the finance I needed to start up and allowed me to go ahead immediately,” he said. “It’s invaluable to me – without it, I couldn’t have started now.”

  • ***Advertisement*** Ascent Partners: 30 June 2010

    New business listing – small commercial offset printer, $400,000 turnover, inner city Melbourne, NEW metal CtP (replacement $50,000), single and two-colour A3, two-colour perfecting A2, Polar and Schneider guillotine, cylinder etc full design and graphic arts, good mix of direct clients, excellent location and premises. Sell Price – $135,000 plus stock at valuation, everything unencumbered.

    Click here for more details

  • Printer, Candidate – Sydney

    I am interested in seeking opportunities available as a Printer in the Sydney area. 

    I am a dedicated printer and ensure all printing is complete with the highest level of quality. I have been operating Heidelberg CD5 color & coater 102 printers for the past 5 years and have proven track of excellence.

    I graduated from TAFE (Ultimo College) with the ICPO5 Printing and Graphic Arts Training Packages & ICP30505 Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts.   I was the winner of TAFE Sydney Institute "Heidelberg Australia Award 2008” for first place in Stage II and also was recently nominated for the Lithographic Institute of Australia (NSW Division) Graduate of the year award.

    Please contact me for full CV.


  • CMYKhub revs up Victorian plant with Ryobi press

    Iconic Melbourne for-trade-only printer powers on with capital investment in new offset press.

    The Ryobi 925-D five-colour with a coater went live at CMYKhub’s Heidelberg West premises this week. According to Trent Nankervis, (pictured) manager for Victoria, the addition of another press will make an impact.

    This is not the first Ryobi 925-D five-colour with a coater to be installed at CMYKhub. One is currently running in the Victoria plant and one in Silverwater, NSW. “We have had good success with these presses,” Nankervis said.

    The installation of the Ryobi marks the end of a serious string of investments over the past few months, including a Polar guillotine, offline jogger with buffering system and an unloader to trim flat sheets. In Sydney, a Horizon saddlestitcher SPF-305 has just been installed.

    “Service is critical,” said Nankervis. “We believe in being able to cater for customer demands. The new machine will allow us to add even more value to our customers. These days you not only need to be competitive and have great quality but you need to be quick.  The new investments in both Victoria and NSW will certainly allow us to produce great work quickly, and if that helps our customers grow, we will grow with them.”

  • ABNote apologies for Standard Publishing mix up

    Standard Publishing House talks back to claims that security printer ABNote obtained a winding-up order against its Absolute Mail division.

    Standard Publishing House’s managing director, Neil Armstrong (pictured) told Print21 that the matter is now settled and he has received an apology from ABNote – a major force in global security printing.

    “Commercial disputes often happen and are mostly settled by negotiation. It can be very damaging for a company if rumour, misleading information and speculation gets published to the broader business community,” he said.

    “The facts of this matter are that ABNote did a time-critical plastic card job for one of Absolute Mail’s largest customers, but delivered it late. As a consequence, Absolute Mail lost that customer’s business. In October 2009, Absolute Mail advised ABNote of this and asked for a credit or discount.”

    Armstrong added that Absolute Mail is a division of Standard Publishing House, not a separate company. “The Pty Ltd entity is just a shell to protect the trading name. When ABNote decided to sue for this disputed debt, they incorrectly filed against Absolute Mail Pty Ltd instead of Standard Publishing House Australia Pty Ltd and so my fellow director and I knew nothing of the judgment until it had been handed down,” he said. “ABNote had won a judgment against a shell, a vacuum, a non-trading entity.”

    According to Armstrong, Standard Publishing House advised ABNote of their error and negotiate a settlement – even though their judgment was against a non-trading entity. “We could have allowed the winding-up of Absolute Mail Pty Ltd but we elected to sort the situation out amicably and professionally. This has now been achieved and ABNote has apologised for allowing an influential industry news bulletin to embarrass SPH in the way it has.”

    Armstrong said that the episode should serve as a warning to others. “There is a danger for all businesses, given the nature of the legal system, where companies can sue, even the wrong entity, and seek judgment without defence,” he said.

    “This can be compounded by ‘trial by media’ where due processes are ignored and the rumour mill – instead of well-investigated journalism – rules the roost.”

    Standard Publishing House has been on a growth path this year, recently purchasing Ron Anderson’s Rapid Digital. Armstrong plans on continuing this development, adding that the company would invest, employ and grow in a market that has seen many unfortunate collapses.

    “We will not be joining that list,” he said.

  • Ikea calls on iPhone to push catalogue

    Ikea Western Australia and South Australia prepares to launch iPhone app in conjunction with its 2011 catalogue.

    The move marks a new era for the retail giant, whose catalogue has taken on a bible-like status. According to a report in Business Week last year, the Ikea catalogue is the third most-printed book in the world.

    Nigel Richardson, marketing manager for Ikea WA and SA told Print21 that making the catalogue available via internet and phone will reach customers on a new level. “iPhones are extremely popular and any new media is interesting to us,” he said. “It’s cost effective and we will test it out.”

    This does not spell an end to the printed catalogue, however. Though he would not disclose details of the print-run other than to say that it is delivered to “every deliverable household in South Australia and Western Australia”, Richardson confirmed that the size of the catalogue, which is launched in September this year, would remain the same.

    Richardson believes that the print catalogue is deeply embedded in Ikea’s history, and sees it as highly relevant, even in an electronic age.

    “The catalogue does a different job [to other mediums] and we find it extremely effective,” he said. “Many people keep it for the whole year.”

    Meerkats has been appointed as the advertising agency for the catalogue campaign but a spokesperson was not able to disclose details of what the campaign will involve.


  • Julia Gillard red hot cover girl

    Women’s magazines go into over-drive with special editions featuring Julia Gillard on the front page.

    As news broke last week that Australia had its first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, some magazines pushed their deadlines forward to cover the event while it was still fresh.

    First was weekly magazine, Woman’s Day, which hit the news stands on Friday around New South Wales and Victoria with the headline: Julia’s triumph. We celebrate our first female PM!, followed by its regular edition the next Monday (also featuring Gillard on the cover).

    Woman’s Day editor, Fiona Connolly, believes the issue has been a success. “Australia’s first ever female Prime Minister is a monumental milestone that we knew would resonate strongly with our primarily female readership, and early sales are backing our gut feeling that the special edition will do well.”

    This week, monthly magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly, follows suit with a Julia Gillard souvenir booklet (pictured) inserted free into 300,000 copies of the magazine.

    Michelle Endacott, managing editor of the Weekly told Print21 it was too good an opportunity to miss. “The nation’s first female prime minister is such an historic event, that staff worked around the clock to send the souvenir to print,” she said.

    The Weekly has been following Ms Gillard’s career closely, and had on file insightful exclusive photos of Julia and her family, plus her partner Tim Mathieson.”

    Both Woman’s Day and Women’s Weekly are published by PBL Media’s ACP Magazines, which recently pulled the pin on opening its own printing plant. Both titles are printed by PMP.


  • PMP boss stands behind print in face of digital explosion

    Richard Allely was a lone voice in support of printing among a who’s who of CEOs who predict a digital future.

    In an inaugural survey with The Australian’s Media and Marketing section this week, 19 CEOs gave their opinion on the state of the industry (Fairfax’s Brian McCarthy and APN News & Media chief, Brendan Hopkins declined to be a part of the interview).

    Allely, (pictured), who came on board as CEO last year following the exit of Brian Evans, is optimistic concerning the state of printing, citing a return to investment in catalogues. While he acknowledged the growth of online, he is confident of print’s durability. PMP has contracts to print Sensis phonebooks, a product critics often claim is out-of-date given the proliferation of online search engines.

    “As the internet becomes a worldwide source of information, navigating oneself through the maze becomes even more confusing,” Allely said. “Traditional mediums such as catalogue and direct mail therefore continue to achieve greater cut-through when combined with digital.”

    Bruce Akhurst of Sensis, who looks after Telstra’s directories division, however, sees the print market as “a bit more subdued”. Online, is where he sees a huge growth area. “Digital media has reached a point I call the big bang,” he said. “We’re seeing an explosion of devices, applications and content.”

    PBL Media chief, Ian Law, believes that television is a window of opportunity for his company, while there is “uncertainty” in the overall economic outlook.

    “The demand for advertising inventory on television is being led by the economic recovery and the fact there is an increasing awareness that in a world of fragmentation in terms of media and how it is delivered, that there is no other media form that can offer that mass reach of free-to-air television,” he said.


  • JPE- Power Up

     This time around the Junior Print Executives are focusing on ‘power principles’. It’s all about gaining control of your business and your time. 

    According to Bryn Marriott, JPE President, the business sessions are designed to teach and trainall who attend how to overcome all the obstacles by having "a winners’ mindset."

  • Western Australia wowed by HP 7000 preview

    Currie Group road show rides high in Perth as over 100 people from the print industry gather to see new technology on display.

    Sales and marketing director, Phil Rennell (pictured) was excited to see a range of managers, owners and press operators alike call in to the Osborne Park premises where the Colour Express truck parked for two and a half days last week.

    “It was exceptionally well-attended,” he said. “In my experience at doing this around the country, the Perth road show was probably one of the best we’ve had.”

    According to Rennell, there was a lot of interest in the HP 7000. “People with digital print operations today are always looking at what the next level is, and we got a good reaction from those people,” he said. “When you calculate the number of sheets per hour or month you get from a press like that, you can see all the opportunity that it provides.”

    The truck is now busy making its way to Adelaide, where locals can from 30 June to 1 July. “We’ve already had a good response from people in Adelaide who are looking forward to attending,” Rennell added.

    For any further enquiries please contact Caroline Leonard on (03) 9810 1331

    Pictured: The WA print community flock to Curries roadshow last week.

  • The winds of change: 30 June 2010

    The printing industry has more people coming and going than an airport. This week sees a number of new and familiar faces moving in and out of the industry, including Print21 contributor, Derek Fretwell, while Paul McGarity shows his underbelly.

    Derek Fretwell brings manpower to New Zealand

    manroland continues the expansion of its Australasian business with the appointment of Derek Fretwell (pictured) as sales manager, New Zealand.

    The well-known Kiwi, who has penned a lively column for Print21 magazine over the last few years, will join operations manager, Mark Hawkey in developing the manroland business on the New Zealand side of the Tasman.

    “manroland have a clear and cogent strategy for the future which is being executed with effect,” Fretwell told Print21. “The New Zealand expansion is part of that and I am committed to the New Zealand printing industry.

    Managing director, Steve Dunwell, believes that Fretwell’s experience at companies such as Manders Coatings and Inks; Flint Ink; Creo and Kodak puts him in good stead to spread the word on manroland.

    “Derek also has a deep knowledge of computer-to-plate technology and consumables, having had responsibility for companies as diverse as Agfa, Scitex, Creo and Kodak,” he said.

    “With the recent signing of manroland’s agreement to represent Xingraphics’ thermal plate solutions, plus the launching of our printcom range of consumable products, I welcome Derek as a driving force in the New Zealand market place.”


    Paul McGarity … coming to a small screen near you

    Print21 was delighted to learn that digital-logic’s sales and marketing director-cum-soap star, Paul McGarity, (pictured) has accepted the acting role as forensic extra in the 2011 series of Underbelly being filmed in front of digital-logic this week.

    For those unfamilar with the Melbourne underworld, two police were killed outside of digital-logic’s Moorabbin premises 15 years ago. When McGarity received a call from the production department asking for permission to film on location, he jokingly requested a role in exchange. To his surprise, the team were more than happy to oblige.

    Despite his up-and-coming star status, McGarity has no plans on quitting his day job … yet. “Anyone with concerns about my commitment to digital-logic and my family as a result of my acting success needn’t worry, I will always endeavour to be the same grounded person you’ve come to know and love,” he said.

    Fans will be pleased to know that the fame hasn’t gone entirely to McGarity’s head. He has generously autographed 100 photos and placed them in reception at digital-logic; however, there is a limit of one photo per person.

    “If it’s not convenient to pick up a signed photo, I will be doing a personal signing in the near future,” he added.

    You heard it here first.

    Nicole heads direct to Blueline Media

    New editor, Nicole Thomas, heads Australia’s leading DM magazine, Direct.

    Thomas comes to Blueline Media after previously working on an architecture and design publication, along with several custom titles.

    “I’m extremely excited to be taking over as editor of Direct magazine and tapping into the minds of some of the greatest innovators in marketing today,” she said.

    She takes over from the magazine’s previous editor, Heather Murphy, who oversaw Direct for the past two years. Contact Nicole here.

    Bonanno packs up from Pack Creations

    After three and a half years as operations manager of Pack Creations, Steve Bonanno is moving on.

    In a farewell email, Bonanno wrote: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for all the support that you have given to Pack Creations and myself personally over the past 3.5 years and for many of you, many, many years before that. I know that you will continue to support Pack Creations over the years to come and wish everyone further success in the future.”

    He will still remain within the industry. “I’m looking forward to taking on a new challenge in the label printing industry,” Bonanno said.

  • Heidelberg chief tells how to make money in print

    He may refer to himself as ‘Rock Bottom’, but Heidelberg’s managing director, Andy Vels Jensen, will share some sage advice at GASAA’s upcoming panel, ‘Can You Still Make Money out of Print?’ in August.

    GASAA’s Garry Knespal confirmed to Print21 that Vels Jensen had agreed to participate in the second panel, to be held at the Canarvon Golf Club in Lidcombe on 10 August. “We are very excited to have him on board as a speaker,” Knespal said.

    “The format is informal and grassroots discussions and gives people a chance to talk on the floor.”

    The discussion follows on from last week’s event, ‘Print – Taking the Fight to Online’, which drew a crowd of over 40 people. “It was a good evening,” said Knespal (pictured). “It gave us the chance to test the waters with this new Q and Q-style format.”

    According to Knespal, the panel, which consisted of Ross Campbell, Circle Communications; Nathan Kable, Rawson Graphics; Simon Lane, Fuji Xerox and Guy Marco, Impress Printers was divided on the verdict of print versus online, with no direct conclusions drawn just yet.

    “The jury is out on whether people want to read magazines online,” he said. “There is a general sense that people are getting immune to online, but we all know how to delete online marketing. Print needs to be able to measure its effectiveness more easily.”

    A third seminar is already in the works for later this year. Knespal said that it would look at the idea of being more than a good printer. “It’s not good enough just to be a good printer, you might win awards but got to know how to run a business,” he said, “there’s a lot of failed businesses out there.”

    Check the GASAA website for updates and more information.


  • No time like show time to come together: McCourt’s eye

    Trade exhibitions are terrific ways to glean new ideas, see new applications and network with both customers and suppliers. However, there can be little doubt that there are too many events on the calendar and this presents time and cost barriers for both exhibitors and visitors. Andy McCourt explains why.

    Digital printing has had a unifying effect in many areas of imaging. Take the recent Digital Life (PIMA) photographic exhibition in Melbourne. When photography was all film and chemistry, you would never see commercial graphic arts equipment on display as such shows. Today, the same Epson, Canon, HP and other wide-format printers transcend the boundaries between photo-imaging and commercial graphic arts.

    Even more significant is that A3 digital presses are now part and parcel of making Photobooks and it is not unusual to see HP Indigos, Konica Minolta, MGI, Canon and Xerox presses at photo trade shows.

    The convergence of digital imaging technologies and applications therefore, has introduced challenges for trade exhibition organisers, industry associations and visitors alike.

    The answer then must surely be, in a converging technology market, converge the trade events – and maybe the associations too. Unfortunately, politics and “turf wars” come into play and this is often a doomed enterprise. As with Gollum in Lord of the Rings, so long as he could hold onto his precious ring, freshly bitten off the finger of Frodo, he was happy – even as he disappeared under a sea of volcanic lava. It’s in people’s nature not to want to let go of established turf and customs.

    So, it is with delight and admiration that I commend the convergence of, not two, but five trade events occurring at Sydney’s Darling Harbour in September. Not just because they have converged, but because of what it will deliver in benefits for both exhibitors and visitors.

    From Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd of September, visitors to the Visual Impact Image Expo (VIEE – itself a convergence of two competing shows), will enjoy the added presence of the following:
    VIEE – the main event in terms of floor space and an increasingly popular one with over 7,000 delegates attending. Showcasing wide format, signage and display products and organized by VISA, the sign industry association.
    PrintWorks – a new event staged by GASAA and showcasing the effectiveness of all print – not just wide format – as a communications medium.
    PODi App Forum – the Print-On-Demand initiative, held for the past three years will be co-located with the other events.
    POPAI – the Point-of-Purchase marketing event at Retail Expo, POPAI is a global association of both end users such as Cadbury, PepsiCo, Schweppes and Hasbro, and POP manufacturers plus equipment and materials suppliers.
    Retail Expo 2010 – a combined exhibition and conference on retail techniques, fit-outs, technologies, the ‘store of the future’ and generally better retailing.

    The above five events, plus conferences and awards, are co-located at the same time at Darling Harbour, with a single registration gaining entry to all of them.

    The brilliance of this strategy is that it brings together the entire community of parties who use print and visual communication for commercial purposes. The retailers themselves (70 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in-store), will be there to see print applications they may never have otherwise seen. The point-of-purchase designers and specifiers will be there and, while they may never buy a five-meter wide UV digital printer, they certainly buy the various kinds of output such machines produce.

    Who knows who else will turn up with the greater reach engendered by this co-operation? For sure the 7,000 visitor number mark will be smashed and could even get into the 10,000-plus area – towards a PrintEx kind of attendance figure.

    Wide format digital, signage, POP, vehicle wraps, shelf-talkers and so on will be complemented by sheetfed digital printing to present a world of colourful, persuasive and effective print communication.

    However they managed to get four trade associations and five events together like this is a mystery to me … maybe it was hypnotism or mind-altering medication slipped into the cappuccino machine. Whatever, it is a fantastic achievement and is a surefire winner. I am looking forward to VIEE/Printworks/POPAI/RetailExpo with immense anticipation and hope you will get along there even if you are an offset printer – to see what the digital print production world can really deliver.

  • Day of digital is here: John Kirk

    From the moment Chester Carlson produced the first photocopy, to the growing number of offset shops making the switch, digital printing has come a long way. John Kirk of Clayton Utz looks back on some of its biggest achievements.

    My mother worked in the Government Printing Office in Canberra before I was born, so I suppose you could say print is in my blood.  It wasn’t until the early 1980s when I started to get involved in print.

    Mind you, at the time no self-respecting printer would acknowledge the photocopying operator as part of the print industry.  That attitude is different today with digital print being a strong and growing part of the print industry globally.  Most printers now have at a minimum an understanding and respect for the digital print sector, and more and more companies are developing digital arms to their business.

    One aspect of the development of digital print that has always been lacking is the recognition of digital print operators as a specific skilled subset of the print industry.  Sadly this has been particularly so in Australia, while other countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand have had digital qualifications for many years.  In the USA there are complete University courses on digital print with renowned spokesmen such as Frank Romano heavily involved.  In Australia, digital print has been, whilst not ignored, at least discouraged from obtaining qualifications.  This is mainly due to the focus of VET training on traditional print functions and the training package being geared towards traditional print.

    December 2001 saw me move back from the world of retail print to the corporate print room.  One of my first tasks was to analyse a report from a major vendor on the state of print in the organisation.  Among other things this report stated that the current staff were not only unwilling, but unable to be trained as digital operators.  As the new supervisor I knew this to be far from the truth. I contacted NSW TAFE and my first step was to organise a two-day course entitled "An Introduction to Digital Print" conducted by TAFE teacher Mark Stegman. 

    In 2004, I was involved in a conference in New Zealand at which a PrintNZ team promoted a Diploma in Digital print.  Coming back to Australia inspired, I tried to find the equivalent here, albeit unsuccessfully.  This started a long journey towards making such a qualification a reality.  I began to make enquiries with TAFE about customising a course for digital print.  I worked with some industry stalwarts like Des Hope, Alan Stott, and Allan Wetherell to begin to piece together something.  (NB: A Diploma of Digital Production was included in ICP05 but did not have a specific pathway leading to it.)

    In 2005, as Central Branch President of the Network of Inhouse Print Professionals Australasia (NIPPA) I was invited to join the NSW Communications Industry Training Advisory Board (CITAB) on the Print Industry Committee.  It was here that the serious work of creating a recognised digital print qualification pathway was born.  In March 2006, the Innovation Business Skills Australia (IBSA)  invited Bob Snedden, Greg Grace and myself to become part of the inaugural Printing and Graphic Arts Sector Advisory Committee.  This gave us an ability to work with IBSA to shape the training package as industry consultants.

    August 2006 saw the Sector Advisory Committee initiate a project that allowed mapping of competencies to vendor training.  This project was run by another NSW CITAB member Wayne McDougall of SkilledForce.  Wayne was able to map a number of vendor based course back to the training package allowing operators who had completed these course to get recognition for them under VET qualifications.

    ICP 05 was officially endorsed in September 2005 but it wasn’t until late 2006 that I was able to finally fulfil a goal of seeing a group of digital print operators qualify under VET approved qualifications.  In May 2007, after what seemed like an eternity and a lot of bureaucratic manoeuvring we had a small graduation ceremony in our offices at Clayton Utz to celebrate.  Nine people had qualified with a Certificate III in Instant Print which had been modified to reflect a digital print environment. 

    In conjunction with Allan Wetherell from Sydney TAFE this course was then promoted to a number of non-traditional print rooms in corporates and bureaus in Sydney.  The result is that now almost 40 students are working towards this qualification in NSW alone.  The course is also being used in Victoria through RMIT, and in the Northern Territory.

    The one difficulty with this qualification is that it was, and is, specifically designed for a small offset environment.  Whilst it has been possible to see many operators gain qualifications, the industry needed a specifically designed and formatted VET qualification for the digital print industry.

    In October 2008, IBSA began a project to enhance the ICP05 Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package.  With industry consultation taking place across the country and with support from many of those mentioned previously in this article, digital print was finally put on the table and work begun on developing the Digital Print qualifications.  This was endorsed in April this year.

    So at last, 19 years after the Xerox Docutech revolutionised instant print, we can finally recognise the skills and qualifications of that ever increasingly "common" digital print operator.

    I know that for me at least this has been a great journey.  But as with most journeys it is best shared.  I would like to thank all those who have played a part in this journey but most specifically to Bob Snedden and Allan Wetherell, my partners in this journey, without whom I would never have been able to see this qualification come into being.

    John Kirk is print and mailroom manager at Clayton Utz lawyers in Sydney.  He is also a member of the NSW Communications ITAB, the IBSA Sector Advisory Committee, and of NIPPA.