The development of a multi-skilled digital print workforce and formal recognition of existing workers’ skills are two key recommendations from a report addressing workforce challenges facing Australia’s printing industry.
The report is the result of a two-year Skills Formation Strategy by Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) and Skills Queensland.
Printing Industries General Manager, Research and Development and State Manager Queensland Neal McLary said the report outlines recommendations to ensure the industry would have the workforce it needs for the future.
“The rapid introduction of digital technology – in particular digital presses, high level copying systems and wide format printers – is having a significant impact on the printing industry across Australia and the world,” he said.
“For the estimated 5000 printing companies in Australia this means an increasing need for workers with skills and experience across digital printing.
“It is important the industry has a co-ordinated approach to workforce development and training of its existing workforce and a plan to attract new entrants.
“With funding and support from Skills Queensland, we have conducted wide-ranging industry research and consultations to identify and implement short and longer term strategies to meet the skills and labour demands of digital printing.”
Skills Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rod Camm said today’s competitive labour market makes it critical for industries to be committed to workforce planning and to grow and skill their workforce in line with future demand and skill requirements.
“The advance of the digital economy is changing skills and labour demands across industries and creating new job opportunities as well as increasing the need to upskill existing workers to meet changing consumer demand,” he said.
“The printing industry is facing a rapidly changing skills environment and our investment of $240,000 has supported the industry and its leaders to formally research, discuss and address the common skills and workforce issues being faced and to develop a workforce development strategy to meet these challenges.”
“It is very encouraging that the industry, through the Printing Industries Association of Australia, has committed to owning the strategy in the long term and implementing recommendations across Australia.”
The final strategy report, Ensuring access to a trained and work-ready workforce for the printing industry, includes 25 individual recommended actions from new strategies to market the industry and its career and lifestyle opportunities through to the delivery of more relevant and contextualised training.
“We are working towards the two strategic objectives of attracting and retaining high calibre people and creating a training and education system which works with the industry,” Mr McLary said.
“To grow the workforce we need to not only sell the industry and the career opportunities available, but also make better use of the capabilities and resources of digital system suppliers to deliver training.”
Mr McLary said some of the recommended actions were already underway including those related to recognition of prior learning, use of vendor training as a potential pathway to qualifications and promoting a better understanding of the industry training package to ensure more relevant training and course selection.