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Printing Industries Queensland recognises apprentices with inaugural awards

In the digital era, many would believe that printing services have died. However, from large-scale physical advertising to mail house printing, there’s ample support for an argument that the sector has simply refocused.

The printing industry in Australia is worth a staggering $7 billion, and employs almost 29,000 people – around half the population of Noosa – through its 5,300+ businesses, according to IBISWorld. These companies, and the sector as a whole, are also hoping to find a new place in the digital era.

For that, the use of apprentices is common, providing on-the-job training for entry-level employees who can bring a new perspective to the workforce.

Rewarding excellence

Printing Industries Queensland (PIQ) has taken steps to encourage this by recently launching its Early Stage Apprenticeship Awards, which debuted at a joint event coinciding with the LIA -Heidelberg Graduate of the Year Awards in Brisbane.

Designed to encourage apprentices throughout their programs and improve retention rates, 18 printing industry apprentices in Queensland were nominated for the accolade, with four winners picked from four categories:

  • Stage 1 Printing Industries’ Early Stage Apprenticeship Awards
  • Stage 2 Award Printing Industries’ Early Stage Apprenticeship Awards
  • Stage 3 Award Printing Industries’ Early Stage Apprenticeship Awards
  • LIA Graduate of the Year Award

Former apprentice and Printing Industries Queensland Member Services Manager Mel Ireland said it’s up to the sector now to encourage the next generation of professionals.

“Sometimes we have to look into the past to help us mould our future,” she explained in an August press release from PIQ. “Apprentices at all stages used to be recognised at an awards evening many years ago; but like a lot of things over time, changes occur and events such as these can go unsupported and disappear.

“We need to ensure that the girls and guys that are establishing themselves with a trade in this industry are supported, encouraged, recognised and rewarded, and we intend that the Printing Industries’ Early Stage Apprenticeship Awards is the way to do this.”

An industry in renaissance

A wide variety of apprenticeship trades were included in the awards, from pre-press operators, web printers and metal decorators to letterpress printers, digital printers, binders and finishers. The event was also attended by more than 120 employers and candidates, from industry giants like Fuji Xerox and Currie Group to smaller, more niche firms.

Ms Ireland concluded by suggesting that with a plan to bring new workers into the fold, the industry can continue to refocus in an increasingly digital world.

“A lot has changed and is continuing to change in our industry, but one thing that I think is a constant is the need for continuous training and the introduction of new blood to various fields in the printing arena,” she said.

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator

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