Coalition win secures NSW apprenticeships

Following last month’s examination of South Australia, and the pathways open to young people to get a formal education in print, this edition of Australian Printer takes a look at New South Wales.
With the recent Berejiklian/Coalition win, funding seems all but guaranteed to continue for print apprentices, with the Coalition saying it is committed to continuing fee-free apprenticeships for print students, which it introduced in the 2018 State budget. The funds cover both TAFE students and those studying through private providers, with Spectra also offering print training in NSW.
All new students undertaking printing apprenticeships since July 2018 have been funded under the NSW Smart and Skilled program.
Under the program, the student fees of $2,000 are waived, meaning students study for free, as the NSW Government funds the entirety of the course.
During the campaign, John Barilaro MP, deputy Premier, and the Minister for Skills and Small Business, in correspondence with the PIAA, wrote, “Continued advocacy and promotion of Vocational Education will be at the forefront of a re-elected NSW Liberals and Nationals Government. Promoting, modernising and increasing the take-up of apprenticeships and providing 70,000 free traineeships, including in Printing and Graphic Arts.
“The 2019 NSW State election provides a clear choice for skills training. A choice between a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government that is providing 80 per cent of the skills budget to TAFE NSW, providing 700,000 free courses over the next four years, providing fee-free apprenticeships and traineeships, and constructing nine new TAFE campuses. Alternatively, a Labor Opposition offering fewer free courses over a longer time, no new campuses, and the axing of the fee-free apprenticeship program.”
As for access to the courses, there are three apprentice qualifications that young people can sign up for in print in NSW through TAFE, all of which are fee-free: Print Manufacturing, Print Manufacturing, and Print Communications. However, a glance at the TAFE NSW website shows that Print Communications is not currently accepting enrolments.
All three require students to complete their training at Ultimo, based in Sydney, a tough travel trip for people living in the outer regions of NSW.
Then, there is the Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (General) course which is taught at the TAFE Newcastle campus. Unlike the other courses, available up to Certificate III, TAFE NSW says it applies to individuals who perform routine tasks in the printing and graphic arts industry. 
“They work under direct supervision and use limited practical skills and fundamental operational knowledge in a defined context. 
“It is a preparatory qualification that can be used as a pathway into a range of specialist Certificate III qualifications within the printing and graphic arts industry,” explains the state education provider.
For those outside of Sydney and Melbourne, but wanting to study as a print apprentice, Spectra offers onsite training, under its Print Training Australia banner. 
Jenny Rushton, CEO, Spectra, explains, “A lot of printers prefer the TAFE model, as it is easier for them to send their apprentice to a blackout period, as opposed to disrupting a workplace with training. With our model though there is limited downtime.
“We contextualise our training to the client: it depends on the printing company and what they require.”
In NSW, private providers like Spectra have access to the same state funding as TAFE, meaning that the apprentice can study their apprenticeship for free, with the roughly $2000 in course fees accounted for.
Unlike South Australia, where the same options do not exist outside of the capital city, rural printers can train up young staff just as easily as their city counterparts.

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