Printing Industries Work Skills Development project (WSD) to trial new training solutions aimed at overcoming the skills shortage has been launched via five industry companies. The companies will receive free skills audits of their existing workforce; a skills needs analysis to identify those areas of shortage / skills improvements which will assist the business and the industry; program implementation assistance and mentoring of the agreed trial solution.

Printing Industries National Operations Manager, Robert Fuller, said that after calling for expressions of interest late last year, the association was inundated with submissions from businesses that had shortages in management skills, digital print, language, literacy, skill diversification for tradespeople, and training employees in solution selling techniques.

“Skills shortage is a problem that is facing more and more Australian businesses, none more so than in the printing industry. The ageing workforce and shrinking labour pool is compounding the problem of finding skilled and qualified people at all levels,” he said.

“We chose five member companies to participate in this program based on their commitment to staff development, availability of internal resources to complete the project, and a strong commitment from senior management to address the pressing skills shortage issues in their business and in the industry.

“The final criteria point is very important since the overall aim of the project is to trial innovative training pathways and solutions to address the skills shortage areas that are common throughout the industry and to provide a training solution for all businesses with similar problems.”

The identified areas and their pilot companies are:
Language & Literacy training (HannanPrint) ;
Re-skilling specialised workers (Penfold Buscombe / GEON);
Digital printing training pathway (Look Print); Sales training – solution based selling (Focus Press);
and Franchise sector print production (Outlet TBC).

Mr Fuller said a team of dedicated, specialist, industry training consultants – Skilled Workforce, Applied Training Solutions (ATS) and NCLT, have been working with the businesses and have completed the project plans and initial consultations. “The businesses are currently engaging their staff in the project and formal training plans are now being developed,” he said. “The project will involve them trialling innovative training methods and pathways with the aim of using as many AQF accredited courses as possible to provide national accreditation for the participants where possible.” Mr Fuller said the project is expected to be completed early in 2008.

“We would like to thank all those businesses that expressed interest in this project. We look forward to their continued support and input over the following months. This project is designed to address industry wide problems and we value your input through our Reference Group,” he said.

”We will provide the industry with regular updates and progress reports on this important innovative training (WSD) project.” Printing Industries is running the program in partnership with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and with Federal Government with funding through DEST (Department of Environment, Science and Technology).

Printing Industries Association of Australia

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