July 25, 2012 - 2:39pm
The largest ever program in support of apprenticeships for the printing and graphic communications industry has been launched by the Printing Industries Association (Printing Industries).
It will run over 12-months and involve the establishment of a national Apprenticeship Advisory Service and Mentoring Program.
The program will aim to increase the retention rates of current apprentices (young and mature age) and encourage new entrants by challenging head-on the out-dated perceptions about the industry.
Funding of some $1.4 million has been provided to the project by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education as part of the government’s commitment to increasing the skill levels of and opportunities for the Australian workforce.
Printing Industries CEO, Bill Healey, said the project had been under development with the Australian Government for some time. He welcomed the boost to industry apprenticeships and said Printing Industries would be working with the government and all industry stakeholders to ensure the industry had a suitable trained workforce to help it to reposition itself to take advantage of innovative technologies and opportunities.
“This is part of the Association’s strategy to ensure that the evolving digital industry and lithographic industry is provided with an adequate supply of new, well-trained employees for its future needs.
“We know our industry has a low-profile among job seekers and our apprenticeships are not popular with young job seekers who mistakenly view us as being low, old fashioned technology,” he said.
“We need to correct these misconceptions and make our industry an attractive career option, a commitment supported by the government.”
It is anticipated that the Printing Industries mentoring program will provide, mentoring and support to approximately 500 apprentices in their first year of training and an additional 500 existing apprentices identified as needing support to complete their apprenticeships.
“Our first year apprentice target groups will be school leavers, vulnerable youth and mature workers in addition to existing apprentices identified as being at risk of not completing their apprenticeship,” Mr Healey said.
“Directly employed industry apprentices do not currently have access to this kind of support and in smaller businesses may not receive the support they need to help them through their apprenticeship.
“We believe this initiative creates the opportunity to greatly increase the existing numbers.
”Printing Industries will use its national network and infrastructure to manage the services which will be provided by an additional eight specialist staff.
The service staffed by two National Advisors based in Sydney, will be responsible for providing information to school leavers and other potential apprentice applicants, employers, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and employment brokers to increase the take up of industry apprentices.
They will provide apprentice communication services in support of the six state mentors. This will include the creation of website, social media and telephone support services; the development of new information packs for employers and guidance counsellors; careers expos and seminars; and chat rooms linking industry experts with potential apprentices.
Mentoring ProgramA total of six mentors are being employed – two for NSW/ACT; and one each for Queensland, Victoria/Tasmania, South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Their front- line role will involve the identification, selection and matching of apprentices to ensure a ‘good fit’ between the apprentice, their employer and industry. They will engage with employers and potential apprentices and their families to promote apprenticeships and how they can be best used.
The mentors will also provide a ‘pastoral care’ style support to overcome a broad range of barriers faced by apprentices that could threaten the successful completion of their apprenticeship. This will also include strategies to improve career progression and apprentice retention levels.
They will also work with businesses to ensure they understand the apprenticeship system and open up new areas for employment.
Mr Healey said negotiations were currently underway with the Australian Government for a second, larger long-term project focussed on adapting apprenticeships to the industry’s long term needs with particular emphasis on promoting competency based progression.
Inquiries about the program can be directed to National Program Manager Ian Walz on (02) 8789 7362 or e: email@example.com
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