Australia’s Printing Industries Association has launched a scheme to support print apprentices, backed by $1.4 million of government money.
The 12 months scheme establishes a national apprenticeship advisory service and mentoring programme, aimed at increasing the retention rates young and mature-age apprentices and encouraging new entrants.
The $1.4 million funding comes from the Australian government’s department of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education as part of its commitment to increasing the skill levels of and opportunities.
Printing Industries chief executive Bill Healey says the project has been under development. Printing Industries will work with the government and 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,” he says.
“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. We need to correct these misconceptions and make our industry an attractive career option, a commitment supported by the government.”
The mentoring programme is expected to support about 500 first year apprentices, and an another 500 existing apprentices identified as needing support.
Healey says the 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: “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.”
Two national advisors based in Sydney will provide information to school leavers and other potential apprentice applicants, employers, registered training organisations and employment brokers. They will support six state mentors with a website, social media and telephone support services, as well as development of new information packs for employers and guidance counsellors, events such as careers expos and seminars, and chat rooms linking industry experts with potential apprentices.
The six mentors will help identify and select apprentices, ensuring a ‘good fit’ between the apprentice, their employer and industry. They will also provide ‘pastoral care’ style support to overcome a broad range of barriers faced by apprentices.
Healey says negotiations are underway for a larger long-term project focussed on adapting apprenticeships to the industry’s long term needs with particular emphasis on promoting competency based progression.
More details from national programme manager Ian Walz on 02-8789 7362 or email email@example.com