The printing industry’s plea for a core plus approach to apprentice training under the modern apprenticeship system has been given the green light after the BPIF led protests against the approach proposed by the Institute For Apprenticeships.
The BPIF has been leading a Trailblazer Consortium to decide the content of separate apprenticeships for prepress, printing and post press areas. This are already simplified to help both trainees and their parents understand what is involved and will be used to target any government funding.
But at the end of last year, the ruling body decided that a single apprenticeship would be sufficient and that all trainees should have the same experience regardless of the different needs of each production sector.
The decision led to protests both from the Consortium and the wider industry after Print Business reported the issue, firing off a comment to spark the campaign.
Ursula Daly, coordinator for the Consortium, says: “We were really impressed with the way that the industry and the trade press understood the debate and then provided strong and clear feedback supporting the Trailblazer Consortium.
“The level of responses went way beyond anything we dared hope for, and it's helped us communicate a really robust message about the sector's needs. I can't overstate how appreciative we are and the consortium members, who are all dedicating a great deal of time and effort to this, are greatly reassured by the level of support across the industry.”
The IFA has now provided feedback in a meeting with James Buffoni, Ryedale, chairman of the consortium and Ian Wilton, Oxuniprint, vice-chair, that it has changed its opinion. It will now support the core-plus approach so that trainees will build on a common basis with speciality in each of the separate areas.
The consortium comprises the BPIF, Unite the Union, Ryedale and Oxuniprint, BCQMulti Packaging Solutions, West Ferry Printers, Page Brothers, De La Rue and the Printing Charity. It was supported by 50 protests from the industry after our call to make views known.
The news bolsters training efforts led by the BPIF. It has secured funding help from the Stationers’ Foundation for print managers wanting to join the masters level management course at the Management Development Centre of the University of South Wales.
And it comes as the federation launches training days aimed at improved the professionalism of sales within the the industry. A sales leaders workshop will be held at the St Bride Foundation on 20-21 June followed by a two-day course on professional selling skills on 28-29 June.
The first is aimed at managers and others in charge to help understand how to build predictable sales growth. The second is intended to equip staff with skills to lead to a systematic, productive and professional approach to sales.
Partnership development director Marcus Clifford says: “We want to help improve the professionalism and quality of sales in the industry, an issue that many do not acknowledge, but which is something we want to tackle.”
Participation is limited to ten on each course with details from the BPIF.
The printing industry's concern about the shape of future Trailblazer apprenticeships has resulted in the government body responsible back tracking on its earlier decision. Meanwhile the BPIF is promoting masters level education and professional sales training.
At least this is an understandable U turn from this government