Printing Industries is calling on the government to implement its commitment to finding an acceptable solution to the industry training crisis, seeking a meeting with Peter Hall, Victorian minister for higher education and skills, when he returns to Melbourne next week.
The decision by RMIT to withdraw its printing apprenticeship training and sell its assets to a third party private training provider without consulting the industry first has angered Victorian and Tasmanian print companies.
Bill Healey, CEO, Printing Industries says “Our biggest concern is the question mark that now hangs over the future of quality training for apprentices in Victoria and Tasmania. We believe RMIT acted with undue haste. We are disappointed that they chose not to work with the industry to identify a solution, nor recognising the time and investment that had been made by industry stakeholders in the operations of the International Centre of Graphic Technology (ICGT) over many years.”
To ensure that the printing industry has access to a skilled workforce for its immediate future needs some changes may be required to the existing training model.
Healy says “We need to look at ways of ensuring apprentices have an opportunity to mix with peers outside their workplace and have access to the broad range of equipment that will enable them to become well rounded trades people. That’s why it’s essential that the industry is involved in managing, its training agenda to meet its needs for its future and why so many people are feeling totally let down by RMIT.”
Melbourne’s RMIT University made a deal with private training provider CLB Training and Development to take on the graphic arts courses. Printing Industries had consulted with CLB but had no response from the vice chancellor of RMIT.
Healy says “We wrote to the Vice Chancellor seeking the establishment of a working group to manage an orderly transfer of the ICGT resources to the industry. We are still awaiting a response from RMIT, but it would appear that the horse has now bolted without any assurances that industry companies will have access to training which they can have confidence in. This will be at the top of our agenda with the Minister along with our assertion that an industry controlled Registered Training Organisation (RTO) similar to successful operating overseas models will be necessary to provide access to quality training for all companies.”
Printing Industries has already begun implementing the $1.4m federal government funded Printing Industry apprenticeship advisory and mentoring program to support apprentices, increase their retention rates of current apprentices and encourage new entrants.
“We also have an application pending for a grant under the Accelerated Apprenticeship program to look at ways of making apprenticeships more responsive to our changing workplace. We see training as vital to the development of the printing industry and hope that our vision is shared by the Victorian Government and all other stakeholders.” Healey concluded.
The courses were previously offered by the university’s International Centre of Graphic Technology (ICGT) centre, but this will be shut down next year.