Sat, Jun

If you can, teach

Ever considered becoming a twinner with the printit! Education initiative to get youngsters into the print sector? Now could be the time.

September saw the commencement of the ninth PrintIt! curriculum-mapped competition for GSCE and A Level students to research, design and create a print-based promotional campaign as part of the largest ‘Schools into Industry’ programme in the UK, and developed to draw new talent into the print sector by increasing youngsters’ awareness of print. Now it’s time you got involved. November sees the search for print companies to twin with local schools, a crucial element to the programme, and one that gives students the chance to experience the industry first hand.

London-based Learn To Dream Limited (better know as Ltd Ltd) did so and was voted ‘Best Industry Twinner 2012/13’ after a teacher at Newstead Wood School for Girls nominated the company for its exceptional commitment in supporting its twinned school and providing advice to both teachers and students throughout the PrintIt! 2012 competition.

“Learn to Dream provided us with exceptional opportunities and continue to do so,” enthuses teacher Frances Shillings. “We took our 25 entrants to Ltd Ltd for a print experience visit and opened our eyes to the range of print jobs they take on, where literally no job is too small, printing on a huge variety of substrates such as acrylics, vinyl’s and foamboard mounted card.

“In the afternoon the students took part in a colour awareness session and a design challenge before leaving with a goodie bag of print info, all vital for GCSE’s. Cheekily at the end of the visit, one of our Year 10 students asked if she might join Learn to Dream for her work experience in the summer!

“Ltd Ltd then hosted two Year 12 students for work experience who came back from their week-long placing absolutely buzzing with ideas, utterly determined to go into the graphics industry with their new found understanding of the up to the minute processes and range of applications open to them. They also developed their skills in Photoshop and learned how to use InDesign and Illustrator, all software we cannot even dream of affording. And finally, Ltd Ltd have offered to print some complex coursework for one of our A Level product design students.”

A couple of years ago the PrintIt! competition winning students had their entries printed on wide-format machines and the sheer size of the prints added an extra frisson of excitement to the subsequent annual awards event. But, since then wide-format specialists have been slow in coming forward for the twinning programme, something the PrintIt! team really hopes to change for the 13/14 project.

Tony Lock, former PrintIt! chairman and group commercial director of Duplo International says: “It’s only by us all engaging with schools, exciting these young people and showing them what dynamic and creative industries print and paper are, that we will attract the best talent to come and work in our industries. PrintIt! is a hugely important programme in our future and every printer, print related business and paper company needs to get involved. We need printers and paper companies taking an active role in engaging with their local school and signing up to the twinning programme.”

PrintIt! is a major industry-backed initiative sponsored by Antalis McNaughton, Duplo, Earth Island and Heidelberg, but it needs more print companies to get involved with the programme and open up twinning links. Twinning can range from allowing a school to visit the premises and seeing work first hand or it can involve a talk to the school from the company about the industry and careers routes.

Nigel Hawke, TJ International, winner of the PrintIt! Best Twinner award 11-12, explains the importance of attracting younger students into the world of manufacturing “We need people to look at printing as a career, it’s not just about print!

“When the PrintIt! scheme first came out, I thought great, this is the conduit to get into schools, to get them to us, to talk to us and let’s see what we can do to get out of it... When you get young people involved and interested in the industry it’s quite clear that it is a win –win situation.”

The PrintIt! schools programme has reached over 140,000 students since it launched in 2005. The twinning aspect enables students to visit an employer’s premises and obtain a personal insight into the world of print as well as assisting them with their PrintIt! competition entry. In a nutshell, it  into allows them to practice what they’re being taught. A small amount of time could be hugely inspirational to students.

One school visit alone resulted in 20% of the class saying that it influenced their thoughts on a future career in favour of the industry. After completing the full programme students that said their opinion of the print and paper industries had altered radically and that they now understood it to be an exciting and environmentally friendly industry rose by over 50%. Excitingly, double the amount of students said that they would now consider a career in print.

Twinning companies can be nominated by their twinned schools for the ‘Best Twinner’ award presented at an Oscar style ceremony – what’s not to like?

So what will I have to do as a Twinner?

If enticing new talent into the print sector matters to you, you can sign up right now to become a twinner. Full details can be found at www.printit.org.uk but here’s a quick run-down of how it works:

• Your company is added onto an interactive map of available Twinners.

• When teachers register their school for the project they then select a company in their area that they would like to twin with. This ensures that all twinning is within the local community for both schools and employers.

• Proskills then matches the company and school together. • The visits are then arranged directly between the school and company with both parties completing the relevant risk assessments.

• The style of the visit is left up to the company and school to

decide. There are several documents in a prepared toolkit with guidance and tips to help you and Proskills will be on hand to provide further support if needed.

As part of your Twinning agreement you can either:

• Host at least one school visit to your company including a guided tour and talk about the career journeys you/your staff went through to get to their current roles.

• Do at least one school visit where you talk them through your company, the machines and processes involved and your own/your staff’s career journey into the industry.

To make contact email printit@proskills.co.uk or call 01235 833844

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