Print shops struggling to find apprentices

Printing Industries calls for greater government attention to address the perception and value of apprenticeships.

Paul Mitchell, national workplace relations manager, Printing Industries, represented the industry at a Business Services Advisory Group meeting convened by the Victorian Skills Commissioner, and says there are not enough apprentices to fill positions in print.

“A number of Printing Industries members want to take on apprentices, yet it is often a case of there not being the supply of young people willing to take up and commit to apprenticeships", Mitchell told the Commissioner.

"About a dozen or more of our members in recent times have contacted me saying that their advertisements for apprentices are just not being answered. There is a problem in the perception and awareness of how significant and important an apprenticeship can be in someone's early life and career. Whilst we all need to play a part, this is something which requires urgent attention from Government if the future of apprenticeships is to be safeguarded.

"Through new innovations, new employment and job opportunities arise. Jobs which exist now in the printing industry were not around ten or twenty years ago. As with anything, new technology will bring about concern that jobs may be impacted, however, innovation is also likely to create new jobs that we do not even know about yet, and that is really exciting."

The purpose of the meeting was to update and consult with industry representatives on the Victorian vocational education system. Industry groups ranging from financial services, real estate, information and technology, waste management, music and entertainment, graphic arts and printing were represented.

The Turnbull Government created the Skilling Australia Fund for the purpose of increasing the amount of apprenticeships being taken up in Australia. Mitchell communicated that it is not necessarily a demand-side issue from the printing industry's perspective.

Printing Industries says it will continue to consult with Government on modernising apprenticeships, to encourage more young people to get involved in the industry.

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