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Thursday, 23 August 2007
By Print 21 Online Article

Dear Editor,
Re: <a href="" target="_blank">Printing Industries launches Skills Shortages Project</a>

I read with interest Mark Stegman’s letter in response to the article <i>Printing Industries launches Skills Shortages Project<i>, and find myself in broad agreement with his comments.

As the former executive officer of the National Printing Industry Training Council (NPITC) I had responsibility for the project management of the first Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package.

The development of Industry Training Packages is a rare example of co-operative federalism. The Training Packages eventually covered the entire Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. For example the courses in Frontline Management are as defined in the relevant training package and many of the competencies included in the Graphic Arts Training Package.

Training packages define the skills and knowledge needed in a particular industry and how they may be grouped to form qualifications to suite the various occupations in that industry. They replaced the curriculum that was used by training providers such as TAFE.

The advantage over curriculum is that they are much wider in scope and define outcomes in terms of skills and knowledge that must be demonstrated to gain a national qualification. The main beneficiaries of this system are those sectors of the industry not provided for by the traditional trades e.g. Carton Sector. Everyone in the industry at what ever level and however obtained can now have their skills and knowledge assessed and recognised against the criteria laid down in the Training Package.

The Training Package was never a substitute for a skilled trainer, whether they are at the workplace, or a training institution such as TAFE.

The Australian Training Framework has two bits, the Training Package which defines skills, knowledge, assessment and qualifications, the second bit, is grandly called the Australian Quality Training Framework and lays down the standards for implementation and delivery of training i.e. the regulation framework. If you wish to be recognised as a registered trainer and receive government funding there is a rigorous evaluation process.

All industries clamoured for a more open and flexible training system, Training Packages and much more flexible state training legislation gave industry what is said it wanted.

Delivery of training by TAFE and other private providers has never been more accommodating to individuals and companies, contracts for training i.e. Apprenticeships and traineeships (new apprenticeships) have great flexibility in both content and duration. Government incentives to employers and training providers are relatively high.

Yet here we are with skill shortages and you ask the question, why?  The answer seems simple to me, employers have not employed enough people and developed the necessary skills to maximise the opportunities that come with the new technologies, basically it’s failure of management.

This was highlighted for me at the recent PrintEx exhibition when in conversation with the New Zealand Printing Industries CEO, I learnt that they have more contracts of training than we do in Australia and they don’t have the privilege of government incentives. Ten years ago we had five times more than the New Zealanders. What seems to be different is that they have managed to set the industrial relations issues to one side and get on with the business of training. Maybe this could be fertile ground for a bit of poaching.

John Jarvis
Chairman, NSW Printing Industry Committee



Dear Editor

Re: <a href=""target="_blank">PrintingIndustries launches Skills Shortages Project </a>
What a great idea, Mr Cryer we can now all breathe a collective sigh of relief as an industry we "poach" suitable candidates from outside our industry instead of from ourselves
Talking about ourselves and with the skill shortage firmly entrenched in all our minds, I would like to remind everyone that it is almost six (6) months since as an industry we "launched" the DVD Imagine: A World Without Print to – ourselves.
Does Printing Industries have any feedback of the success of the DVD’s in our real target market – the secondary high schools? Has our industry been showcased during the career markets season by the schools?

Was any follow-up undertaken by JPE & PIAA on those wise words of historical wisdom from Tony Martin earlier this year?

"Forty years ago in the 1960s, the printing industry supported a very successful apprentice recruitment and training scheme run by PATEFA [now Printing Industries] and conducted by young trainee managers of the JPE. This program included school visits by JPE members and visits to printing plants and the printing trade school by prospective trainees."
And finally, will there be a concrete opportunity for our industry in 2008 within the Australian Technical College system?

Yes, James the talent is really out there, lurking in unsuspected corners, even dare I say – in our secondary schools! 


Colin Bowd
Category Manager – Print Services

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