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Get a taste for a career in printing with a pre-apprenticeship course

woman working on printer plotter

When people think of doing an apprenticeship, they often think plumbing, electrical or carpentry. But did you know an apprenticeship in printing could also set you up for a solid career? And, contrary to popular belief, the printing industry is flourishing.

A career in printing is so much more than producing newspapers and magazines.

A major part of the printing industry is food packaging – and that’s an industry that’s only going to get bigger, says Paul Ross, Holmesglen’s Education Manager for Printing apprenticeships.

Since the demise of car manufacturing in Australia, the printing and graphic arts industry is now this country’s largest manufacturing employer, says Paul.

And at our Chadstone campus, we offer the pre-apprenticeship course - Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts ICP20120, which gives students a taste of career in printing.

So, what’s the Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts ICP20120 all about?

This pre-apprenticeship course equips students with entry-level skills to get a job in the printing industry.

It covers basic design, digital printing systems and processes for digital printing.

It is full-time, three days a week, for three months.

Career opportunities include screen-printing assistant, print-finishing assistant, assistant machinist (printing), desktop-publishing assistant, pre-press worker, carton and corrugating machine operator, digital, lithographic or flexographic print operator and print offsider.

After finishing the course, many graduates gain a printing apprenticeship with an employer, and study the courses at Holmesglen.

Our three apprenticeship courses in printing are the ICP31220 Certificate III in Printing; Certificate III in Print Binding, Finishing and Packaging ICP31320 and Certificate III in Prepress Graphic Design Production ICP31420.

Apprentices work in a range of roles, producing all kinds of printed products, from bread packaging, mulch bags and money, to books, voting booths and augmented-reality wine labels.

Holmesglen is the only TAFE in Victoria to offer Certificate III courses for printing apprentices and maintains strong relationships with employers, peak bodies and industry suppliers.

You could be eligible for free tuition, as the Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts ICP20120 in on the Free TAFE list.

Why do the pre-apprenticeship course?

“If you don’t know anything about the printing industry but you’re interested in finding out more, you do this course to see if the industry is for you,” Paul says.

“This is an exploratory course. It will give you an understanding of the whole printing process, from how a product is designed on a computer to how it is printed and produced on the machines and finished in the bindery area. Students then have the knowledge to decide what part of the printing industry they would like to get into.”

The course is delivered at the Chadstone campus, and students are taught everything from basic graphic design skills to using the seven digital cut-sheet and roll-fed printing machines on site.

The machines are capable of printing a range of products, from labels, books and packaging to wallpaper, banners and self-adhesive vinyl for flooring.

Students visit printing factories so they can see real-life working conditions. This gives them invaluable insight into what their future job might entail.

Are the job prospects bright in the print industry?

Paul explains the printing industry has an ageing workforce and new younger workers are in hot demand.

Employers from the printing industry often ring him to see if he can recommend students in the pre-apprenticeship course who might like to work with them as a casual employee or apprentice.

Printing employers in Victoria range from “mum-and-dad operations” to larger companies, such as Visy, Opal and Abbe Corrugated.

Paul says the printing industry is robust and on track to become even busier.

“As the population of Australia increases, consumption of food and other items is going to increase,” he says. “We will need new forms of packaging and there’ll be more players in the market who want to get their product on the shelves.”

Find out more about our Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts ICP20120 pre-apprenticeship course and how to apply.

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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