Posts Tagged ‘Joan Grace’

  • Future Print project overhauls local industry training

    A $4.5 million government-funded project between the Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) will overhaul Australia’s print apprentice training.

    With the aim of building a sustainable, competency based system that will underpin the development of a new and innovative training environment for Australia’s printing industry, Future Print challenges the new era of print and communication.

    A new alliance between the printing industry’s premier industry association, Printing Industries and its principal union, the AMWU, sees some of the biggest names throwing their weight behind a project to modernise the print and packaging industries’ apprenticeship system. Representatives from a broad cross-section of the industry have stepped forward to provide strategic advice and support to the project which is currently in its establishment phase.

    The Future Print Steering Committee includes some high-profile names such as Marcus Hooke from News Limited, Bruce Philips from PMP, Lindsay Hannan from Inprint and David Leach of Look Print along with Bill Healey, Printing Industries’ CEO  and the National Secretary of the AMWU’s Printing Division, Lorraine Cassin. 

    With so many the Australia’s top industry figures playing a prominent role in the training project, it is no surprise that Future Print’s goals represent nothing less than the future health and well-being of the Australian printing industry.

    According to Joan Grace (pictured), general manager of Innovation, Training and Projects at Printing Industries and leader of the Future Print Management Committee, the primary vision is to establish and foster an alternative framework for the training of apprentices with a view to preparing them for a productive and rewarding career in a rapidly changing industry.

    “Future Print is about looking at the apprenticeship system in a broad way being aware that we need to develop skills in areas such as information and communications technology (ICT) as well keeping the focus on the changing technical skills the industry needs,” says Grace. “We have two deliverables in our contract with the Government – to train 240 apprentices in a revised apprenticeship system over a two-year period, but more importantly to design a sustainable system for the future.”

    Having put in place the governance and management structures for the project the focus is now on recruiting businesses to become involved in ‘precincts’ in the targeted regions and in the packaging sector of the industry. Businesses will be signing up to pilot more workplace-focused ways of training apprentices. They will test how best to move from the current ‘time-based’ model to a ‘competency-based’ progression and completion model.

    Neal McLary, Printing Industries’ Future Print Project Manager (right) urges businesses to consider the proposition very seriously.

    “The apprenticeship system has been the backbone of training in the Industry. It has served us well. However if we are to prosper as an industry we need to modernise the current system and Future Print provides the resources for this to happen,” he says. “We have many businesses who want these changes and I urge them to make contact with me so that we can discuss the benefits of participating.”

    Businesses will operate in ‘precincts’ or groups which together will be able to support 15 new apprentices for the two years the project will operate. Each precinct will be supported by a project adviser who will have a range of roles including assisting businesses to select and appoint the best apprentices, mentoring the apprentices during their training, liaising with the Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and assisting employers through the system.

    The second project manager, Dov Hirst, from the AMWU will be overseeing the induction and management of the five project advisers who start with the project later in August.

    “We have recruited a talented team of advisers based around Australia who will support the businesses and apprentices and be the key person ensuring that the training delivered to and the progression of the apprentice is what the business and apprentice require,” says Hirst.

    Each precinct will have an RTO which will provide the training of the apprentices employed within that precinct.

    “We have briefed nine RTOs that have traditionally worked in the industry and they’ve been asked to put in an expression of interest in the project,” says Grace. “We are confident that these training providers will design a robust and sustainable training system for the future of the industry.

    Future Print is set to play a large part in the industry over the coming years. The initial project is being funded by $4.5 million government grant and is the first of two such projects that the combined forces of Printing Industries and the AMWU are working on. While the current project is focusing on the apprentices, the second project, which is still in the process of securing government funding, will focus on the employers.

    “This project seeks support to assist businesses in the industry to develop strategic plans that map their future and to up-skill the employees in these business in a broader range of skills than the apprenticeship project does,” says Grace. “Skills such as innovation, lean manufacturing and front-line management will be the focus of this second project.”

    Briefings will be held in each of the regions to be targeted by the project in the coming month. Please see the side bar for details and register your interest at the projects’ website:

  • Young Achievers Award – James Cryer’s clarion call to the future

    A proposed new awards system to recognise the winning qualities in young professionals across our industry will not even mention the term – apprenticeship.

    Imagine a gala event held at one of our capital city’s lavish hotels with TV cameras and the press jostling as glamorous young things strut the stage to the acclaim of an audience of thousands. Next day the media exposure is overwhelming with press and TV coverage.

    Hollywood? The final episode of Celebrity Detox? Australia’s Next Top Model? No – this is the grand final of the Printing Industries National Young Achiever of the Year Award! Fanciful? Maybe. Impossible? Possibly, but all it needs is vision, something the visual arts industries has in spades!

    Parents would be lining up outside printing companies demanding their offspring be given a job!

     Back to reality. Full marks to Bill Healey for appointing Joan Grace to head-up the new printing industry training initiative. Out of the RMIT train wreck may arise a better programme more suited to the needs of our industry.

    The printing industry is a collection of fiercely independent tribes with multiple training-streams and therein lies our strength and weakness when it comes to inducting new entrants. I’m not suggesting all these tribes should get crunched-up into one over-arching, supra-organisation – it’ll never happen! I am suggesting that there is an opportunity, bigger than the differences and it is the need to attract and retain new entrants. (Note my avoidance of the word, apprentices.)

    Joan’s arrival, and her focus on building exciting new training pathways, creates the perfect opportunity for us, as a multi-sector industry, to come together and work towards creating an industry-wide programme to recognise, reward and retain the best and the brightest. This would extend across all sectors; signage, labels, packaging, mailing, etc – not just offset. It would recognise all functional roles such as customer-service, production admin and sales, not just apprentices.

    It would be a fully integrated system of states’ awards leading to a national awards structure not dissimilar to the current National Print Awards. By bringing all the associations together to cooperate, it would also raise the profile of print, which would in turn, help attract new entrants!

    Where to start? The good news is we’ve already begun!

    I refer to the existing event known as the NSW LIA/Heidelberg Graduates Awards, which has been a great showcase of the best and brightest apprentices mainly from the offset sector. It contains the organisational expertise to enable an expansion. It could easily be re-defined to include all the other segments that go to comprise the greater printing church; labels, flexible, packaging, mailing, signage – reminding us that we are a collection of diverse tribes.

    Heidelberg has been a stalwart sponsor from the start. Nevertheless, with the need to broaden the award’s ambit and to present it as a true mirror of the industry, it would be more appropriate to re-brand it as the Printing Industries awards scheme. Individual suppliers could still sponsor a particular award category.

    The changing mix in training pathways. We have a unique opportunity to re-think the calibre and type of individuals we wish to attract and reward. Sadly, the need for factory-floor based apprentices is dwindling as other more exciting roles emerge. This is the story of our industry right now, not doom and gloom but readjustment. The contemporary industry is based on more capital, less labour, keeping the dream alive but with fewer bodies.

    Apprenticeships have zero resonance within the design or digital printing fields. The obvious response is to widen the definition of who can enter a new-look awards scheme and include all vocations within the broad visual-communications industry. Young Achievers can be any outstanding employee, according to certain agreed-upon standards of excellence.

    Taking ownership. This new, broad-based awards program should fall under the aegis of the Printing Industries (plural) Association of Australia, the body that purports, by its very name, to represent all the colourful tribes. Actual implementation would be via a body set up comprising all the participating sectors.

    Printing Industries’ Young Achievers Awards has a natural flavour to it and it’s agnostic; it doesn’t align itself with any sector, process, technology or commercial interest. This is vital; it must be free of commercial bias, like the ABC.

    A multi-sector approach like this also meshes perfectly with Printing Industries’ recent success in gaining federal funding to promote the attraction and retention of trainees. What better way to justify such a grant than to invest in a high-profile event, which showcases the best of the best across all sectors of our industry, not just the dwindling offset base?

    To quote from Worldskills Australia’s own website, the Young Achiever Awards would be:

    committed to the development … of vocational education … and to build a skills culture by inspiring young people, celebrating skills excellence and providing them with an opportunity to showcase their talent.

    There is nothing there about apprentices but everything about achievement. That’s the printing industry of tomorrow!

    James Cryer
    JDA Print Recruitment