Page 52 - Print 21 Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 52

Education & Training
Holmesglen looks outwards Victoria’s leading print training centre Holmesglen is establishing a strong and stable position in the
tumultuous world of print education. Programme director Paul Ross talks to Print21 editor Wayne Robinson.
The past few years have been tumultuous for print education and training, with some big wins including Future Print, and some big losses, notably in offsite training, which traditionally formed a key part of the print apprenticeship.
Today there are two key centres for print training: the Ultimo TAFE in Sydney, and Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne. While the Ultimo centre has largely managed to ride through the buffeting that apprenticeship education has taken, the situation in Victoria, Tasmania and latterly South Australia has been a rocky ride to say the least.
To understand quite why there was no offsite training in Victoria for a few years, why it is back at Holmesglen, and why the college now seems to be going forward, it is necessary to go back in time to the late 1990s when RMIT was forced to amalgamate with the Tech College and embrace competency based training (CBT). In 2010, after a decade of trying to get it right, RMIT decided to
pull out of providing print training, its three floors of equipment over two buildings deemed too expensive by the powers that be.
RMIT sold its IP to an external RTO (registered training organisation), CLB, which became Spectra. It took 70 per cent of the staff, and took on the training for all the Victorian apprentices, who numbered
several hundred, including those from
Visy. Paul Ross, who had been working at RMIT - and is the new programme manager at Holmesglen - took the job of business operations manager with Spectra.
Spectra at this point had to take the RMIT apprentices from Victoria, and some from Tasmania. In total it had 1300 young people on its books, although 850 of those were from Visy undertaking a national training programme.
It could not offer off-site training to any of its students. When the Visy contract finished, Spectra offloaded the majority of its staff.
Ross at this time was also one of 88 skills advisors employed by one of a number
of network providers to the Victorian government, to help administer the Industry Skills Fund.
At the same time behind the scenes, Robert Black, former head of RMIT and a long time colleague of Paul Ross, was working with the PIAA and the AMWU to persuade Holmesglen Institute – not a private organisation – to provide print certifications and off-site training.
Ross says, “One day I got a call out of the blue from Robert, who wanted to know if
I would be interested in leading the print training at Holmesglen. I leapt at the opportunity. The PIAA had shown it was serious about training with Future Print, which had accessed significant funding from
the government for both apprentices and management training. Robert’s credentials in print training are unquestionable, but once he had got the Institute on board he was looking to retire, which is why he asked me to take over. I got the call in February, undertook some further training myself, and started in May.”
The print courses officially started on campus in January 2018 after machinery was installed and commissioned. On site there
are a trio of digital Konica Minolta printers,
a pair of HP roll-fed wide format printers, a Horizon guillotine, and a flexo plate mounter and proofer. Ball & Doggett is providing
the paper, while DIC is a major supplier of consumables. EFI provided Fiery rips for all the printers, and suppliers association Visual Connections has provided significant funding.
Providing technical training on offset, flexo or gravure presses is beyond the capability of the college: the sheer costs would be daunting, and in fact outside Germany and Japan there would be little heavy machinery now in colleges anywhere. However, Holmesglen has invested in the Sinapse simulator programs for sheetfed offset, heatset offset, gravure, flexo web, flexo corrugated and label presses.
Ross says, “These simulators are also essential for students who are not from these backgrounds. Part of the Cert III in Printing is to gain an understanding of the other print processes apart from the one that you are studying in particular. We do have physical versions of the different plate cylinders here for offset, gravure, and flexo.”
Holmesglen is also working with students on the latest equipment in Australia, such as the EFI Nozomi at Orora.
Spectra is still providing training to the print industry, particularly to companies with no affiliation to the PIAA, and it is all on-site training.
To grow Holmesglen, Ross and his team
are looking at offering different types of courses to the local market – for instance, short courses in print awareness to the local schools – and it is offering a Cert II in digital printing as a free course, backed by the Victorian government. Ross says, “We have to broaden our horizons and think outside the box. The Victorian government has identified 50 different qualifications, of which the Cert II digital printing is one, where it is prepared to fund the cost.” The students have to be qualified, which means an hour long interview with Ross, to make sure they are genuinely interested and suited to the course.

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