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Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 30 August

Wednesday, 29 August 2007
By Print 21 Online Article

Dear Editor,
Re: Why are printers ignoring Generation Y?

There are several issues at hand that have led to the situation of a skills shortage in the graphic arts industry; however the first issue that comes to my mind is a lowering of standards in training and not enough quality training.

Traditionally, training was technical college-based where teachers developed lessons from a detailed syllabus and curriculum. Now, to please employers we have training packages with insufficient detail, which can be delivered on-the-job.

Because of the lack of specific detail related to a competency, training packages can be interpreted differently and are more like broad, very basic assessment tools. Using standard learning resource material developed from the training packages would definitely improve consistency of training; however, this is not a current requirement. Training from standard learning resource material would still be flexible because these learner resources are not equipment or software specific.

So-called training has now replaced real education which is what is really needed to develop skills over time. In some countries like the U.S and parts of Europe you can study areas of our industry to diploma or degree level, yet it seems all we want to do as far as training is the bare minimum. I bet those countries do not have a skills shortage.

If employers choose to deliver training just on-the-job will it be delivered by a suitably qualified, skilled trainer? Will the training be delivered in a structured and meaningful way to benefit the learner? Will the important under pinning knowledge related to a skill be emphasised? Will sufficient time be allocated at the workplace to enable effective learning to evolve?

The current training arrangements from the outside look attractive because they are very flexible and the employer does not have to sacrifice productivity, if they choose not to send the employee to TAFE or another training facility. However, I do believe that this has also led to a lowering of standards in training and consequently, contributed to a skills shortage.

In my opinion, when it comes to training, there should be a slight shift in focus from the employer to the employee. Let’s not just try to keep the employer happy but also the employee, who is the recipient of the training and the future of our industry. The successful companies in our industry listen to their staff and believe in them, and encourage further quality training, which of course will benefit both parties. My message to employers is realise the potential of your staff and treat them as valuable assets. Fulfill their training needs and reward them accordingly, otherwise you will lose them. Further training of staff will make their work roles more interesting and in general, raise the profile of the whole industry – something that is desperately needed to attract new prospective staff. More quality training is therefore also a positive step towards combating the current skills shortage.

Vick Tsaccounis
Graphic Prepress

Dear Editor,
Re: $31 million printing press set for Tasmania

Glad to see you tried, as I did, to come up with some details about the new Hobart press. And also drew a blank. I’m not sure whether this was bloody laziness to find out – or what.
It’s incredible how impossible newspaper organisations can be in parting with basic information. If all businesses were as difficult, there wouldn’t be much worthwhile business news published.

(Name withheld).

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