PIAA targets government on training

The PIAA says it is campaigning for skills education in the print and packaging industry, with Matt Schembri, finance manager for the PIAA meeting with Labor MP Brendan O’Connor MP, Shadow Minister for employment and workplace relations.

The industry body says it will have a follow up meeting with O’Connor, with the Shadow Minister offering to facilitate industry engagement in regional production centres as well as in capital cities.

Schembri says, “We discussed the urgent need for Federal investment in education initiatives that encourage school leavers into the trades, investment in vocational training, and support for employers as they take on apprentices.

“The print and packaging industry is the largest employer in the manufacturing sector, offering stable careers, life-long learning, and transportable skills. All significant benefits in a modern economy, and predominantly driven by SMEs.

“We will have a follow up meeting, and pursue these policy positions for the benefit of members. It was pleasing to see Brendan acknowledge the substantial investment made by employers in training and skilling of employees and that he recognises you cannot be pro-worker without being pro-employer.

“It is also good to see the federal opposition is committed to ensuring the printing industries is supported through improving in skills and educational training and has recognised the major economic contribution made by the industry.”

[Related: PIAA backs Qld budget]

The PIAA has also been engaging with state governments on the issue.

Walter Kuhn, PIAA president and owner of Queensland print business Kuhn Corp, says  “We are working with the state government on facilitating training and we are working with other state governments across Australia to lift training back up in the industry.”

The association has thrown its support behind the Qld budget, with the state allocating funding to the Vocational Education Training (VET) investment scheme, apprentice support and Tafe facilities.

The PIAA was also in talks with the SA state government earlier this month, with hopes to address the gap left by Tafe SA pulling out of print training.

Paul Mitchell, industrial relations manager for the PIAA says, “We are in discussions and looking to boost printers around the state which have apprentices. We are looking at either trying to have Tafe SA back up and running.

“Some apprentices in SA are with the private providers and some of them have come to Victoria. There is a lot of uncertainty and we are wanting to address it.

“We are still in discussions, but the government understands we need to move quickly to help those apprentices.”

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