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Printers need new profile to get federal training $’s

Thursday, 22 February 2007
By Print 21 Online Article

Print 21 recently reported that the printing industry was not considered eligible to be included on the Australian Technical Colleges’ cirricula and, as a result, many young people would not be able to undertake printing apprenticeships.

In response to problems such as this, the Department of Education, Science and Training has funded a research project entitled Understanding and resolving the skills shortage in the Australian printing industry to be released at the end of February.

Key messages outlined in the report are that finding a solution to skill shortages requires a strategic, co-ordinated response from the industry, the enterprise itself and training organisations. The report found that the printing industry needs to provide a strategic, long-term action plan; enterprises must promote solutions within the workplace and training providers must broaden their approaches to traditional training.

Most of all, the report recommends the printing industry present a new image that “is innovative, tolerant of change, well-paying and prepared to invest in the skills and career paths of its employees.”

Mr Robert Fuller, Printing Industries general manager NSW said that he “absolutely agrees” with the report.
“The government has provided us with resources to commence four innovative training programs and a strong possibility of a fifth and these are being specifically designed to have new ways of training to address the identified skills shortages from the 2004 research study of the industry’s skilled shortages in those 4 targets,” he said.

Industry identity Colin Bowd said that he also agreed with the report’s key messages, and believed that Printing Industries should be actively lobbying DEST for places in the new Australian Technical College initiative. “This initiative offers students the opportunity to start their apprenticeship while in Years 11 and 12 at school,” he says. “The peak-body after all is sending a DVD [Imagine: A World Without Print] to these and all schools in March identifying career opportunities.”

But a DVD won’t change the entire industry, Bowd says. “[The DVD] will address some of this but to be successful it will require ‘buy-in’ by school counsellors/career advisors to ensure that the DVD is watched by students and that some sort of follow-up strategy exists to ‘sell’ the career opportunities available,” he says.

Bowd believes that disagreeing with current policies does not go far enough, and active measures must be taken. He points to the Master Plumbers Association (MPA) as a positive example of those looking out for the young. “The MPA is Chair of Board on the new ATC Western Sydney college and they have a group training company which manages apprentices on behalf of their members,” he said.

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