"Without the collaboration of key industry role-players, this programme would not exist had they not offered their resources and support. In order to address the scarcity of candidates applying for print apprenticeships, these industry players mutually decided to develop a Print and Packaging Bridging programme," says Ken Leid, director of PRINTING SA's Cape Chamber.
After many months of research and development, the programme kicked off with 11 learners at the Paarl Media Academy and 15 learners at CTP Printers. The Paarl Media Group and CTP Printers rank among the most technologically advanced professional printing groups in the country.
Leid says: "The primary focus is on school leavers without matric exemption as well as early school leavers. It enables successful learners to apply for opportunities such as entering an apprenticeship programme in the printing and packaging industry which they would not have been able to do previously."
The programme is recognised as an entry level qualification into any of the Printing and Packaging trades or related qualifications. This formal learning path will ease individuals into the industry while equipping them with the necessary life skills and foundational literacy and numeracy.
Nico Grobbelaar, executive director for human resources at the Paarl Media Group, says: "The recruitment of learners was done in conjunction with Chrysalis Academy in Tokai, a leading academy for youth development and a flagship project of the Western Cape government.
"Project First Steps, a community academy in the heart of Paarl also played an integral role. They believe in the enhancement of an individual and holistic wellness & growth in the community. This provides hope for the future while preparing and supporting young people to follow a career of their choice," continues Grobbelaar.
The pilot project is fully funded by the FP&M SETA (Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority). The programme curriculum consists of a Foundational Learning Component (FLC) covering English Communication and Mathematical Literacy. Work readiness and life skills along with an overview and introduction to the Print and Packaging Industry are also covered.
Paarl Media, CTP Printers and PRINTING SA played a pivotal role in developing the pilot training Programme. On completion, learners will receive a FP&M SETA certificate recognising the programme and an FLC part-qualification at NQF level 2 allowing the learner entry into any occupational qualification at NQF level 3 and 4.
"The Paarl Media Academy and PRINTING SA teams were instrumental in designing and developing the introduction to the Print and Packaging Industry component which exposes learners to the technology and processes involved in printing and packaging and how they impact on their daily lives," concludes Leid.