Tassie printers want Tafe answers

Tasmanian printers are in discussion about their industry, with apprentices, energy, government purchasing and HR top of the agenda.

The state’s printers met under the auspices of Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA), with most of the Tassie print industry was there in what was the first meeting of its kind, organised by Peter Clark, the newly elected Tasmanian representative for the PIAA.

The meeting came after Tafe SA recently withdrew from print apprentice training due to it claims to a funding shortfall. Homesglen Tafe in Victoria has offered to fill the gap, and has applied to the Tasmanian government to take on apprentices from their state.

Clark says, “Everyone was particularly interested in the recent apprentice situation. One of the attendees we had was a young apprentice, we got some input from him and he seemed a bit lost, as he is thinking where am I going now. Homesglen is still waiting to hear back from the government and everyone there was putting pressure on them for updates. The general feeling is we want it done before Christmas and sorted for next year.”

[Related: PIAA: Apprentice numbers collapsing]

Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries, says, “The strong direction from industry is a requirement for the association to continue and enhance our focus on vocational education and training. The inclusion of a current and recently qualified apprentice in the meeting enabled considerable insight.

Also critical to the audience is the commitment from the government to buy-local and support local industry, rather than base decisions on price alone in the absence of wider value-add attributes and implications.  As the voice of the industry, Printing Industries’ advocacy effectiveness is enhanced with increased and ongoing engagement from industry.”  

Clark says, “Another topic was HR, Andrew did a report on HR in the print industry. Paul Mitchell also had to come out of retirement to help out with the HR situation there, provide support and backup for our members. It is a big issue for our association’s members.”

Speakers at the event included Macaulay and Clark along with Robert Black, program manager for printing at Homesglen Tafe and Paul Mitchell, national workplace relations manager for PIAA.

[Related: PIAA creating Qld election scorecard]

Clark says, “It was a good meeting and it went so well, the people there suggested we meet in March and September. They were interested and passionate, they really felt it was good value. Right now is a busy time for printers in the lead up to Christmas so the printers that were not able to show can come along next year. It was a good cross section of the industry. All the major printers were there but one and all of the major newspapers were there but one and we also had a paper mill there.

Macaulay says, “We really value the at times robust discussion and input from a wide variety of business representatives from all over Tasmania. It was apparent how much local industry want to support our advocacy initiatives, and are prepared to assist in whatever way possible.

Clark says, “The feedback we received from the printers in attendance was fantastic. Most were genuinely surprised at the progress and initiatives now offered by Printing Industries. We look forward to hosting the next convention, currently planned for March 2018. We will have further discussion on the print awards which differs between each state and more from Paul Mitchell on industrial formation, we unfortunately ran out of time there.”

“The response was enthusiastic, the discussion was good and the engagement was high. I have only been on the board of the PIAA for a year, but I think we only had standing committee meetings before, but nothing of this nature with wide representation. The ratio of people there too: more non members than members attended, so we might see a rise in membership.”

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