The Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA) has met with Federal Government advisors to further advance the future of the sign, display and graphics industry.
ASGA president Mick Harrold, vice-president Damian Nielsen and former president Julie Rochester met with advisors to Minister for Skills, Education & Training Brendan O’Connor and Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations Tony Burke to discuss the industry’s requirements for skilled workers, training support for the next generation, and to request that the sign and graphics qualifications be reinstated on the National Skills Priority List.
A second meeting was held to primarily to discuss the classification of the industry – currently listed only under construction – and make an argument to consider also including it as part of the manufacturing sector.
Harrold said the meetings have provided key ministers with important information about the sign, display and wider graphics industry, and set strong foundations for future discussions on industry recognition, training and qualifications.
“The omission of the sign and graphics qualifications in the latest version of the National Skills Priority List was clearly a significant oversight and we believe due largely to a lack of understanding by government of the size and significance of the sector,” Harrold said.
“The classification of signage as solely part of the construction sector, while partly correct, also illustrates a general unfamiliarity with the scope and diversity of our sector.
“In fact, figures suggest more than 60 per cent of the word done by businesses in the sector relates to manufactured or printed signage. The meetings gave us an opportunity to explain just how vital and irreplaceable our sector is, describe its scope and diversity more fully, and explain why we need a voice in these, and other important matters.”
The delegation provided the advisors with an information sheet outlining the range of products the sign and graphics sector is responsible for producing, together with some key industry facts gathered from recent sector surveys run by ASGA and supplier association Visual Connections.
“The figures illustrated quite clearly that the industry is a huge contributor to the industry, with an estimated 10,000 businesses employing nearly 80,000 people and conservatively contributing $15 billion to the Australian economy,” Harrold said, noting that these figures did not include OOH nor the many related organisations which rely on the sector for their own business.
Harrold added that the meetings were very positive, and that both sets of advisors are very open to ongoing dialogue to further understanding, progress ASGA’s current requests, and ensuring the voice of the industry is heard on future matters of significance to the sector.
“The meetings represent a significant first step in promoting the significance and importance of the sign and graphics sector and we hope will be the start of closer collaboration with government on issues which impact our industry and ASGA members,” Harrold said.
“While the wheels of government can move slowly, we anticipate further dialogue and hope to have some positive outcomes to report over the coming months.”
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