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NorQuest Hosts Alberta Print Wars

March 01, 2010

By Josh Ramsbottom 

NorQuest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, in late February, hosted the first annual Alberta Print Wars competition held between student teams from NorQuest and SAIT’s Digital Graphic Communication diploma programs.

Each institution fielded a 2-student team, which went head to head to produce a 4-colour poster on the NorQuest’s Heidelberg SM52 press. The students used this friendly contest to brush up on their press skills while showcasing the type of technology they utilize as part of their studies. 

The competition also benefited both institutions as they continue to evaluate their programs and look forward to a provincial competition to determine who will represent Alberta at the upcoming Canada Skills offset printing competition, taking place May 20 to 23, 2010, in Kitchener, Ontario.

NorQuest College’s program, based in Edmonton, squeaked out a win against its southern rivals, based in Calgary, to capture the honours of the inaugural competition. Once the judges tallied the scores, Marwa Bondok and Jolene Sichkaryk, both in the first year of their studies, edged their SAIT counterparts, Courtney Johnston and Justine Bratberg.

Sichkaryk said, “Before we started I thought I might be nervous but because of the program time spent learning on the press, the nervousness disappeared and I just focused on the job.”

“The competition was a lot of fun and everyone was very encouraging,” said Marwa Bondok. “The feedback from the judges was wonderful. I am very encouraged as to where a career can take me.”

Don Yez (Technician Heidelberg Canada), Reg Stanton (VP of Operations with McCallum Printing Group) and Murray Fisher (Press Operator with Ion Print Solutions) served as industry judges who graded the two team’s performances and then provided valuable feedback to the students.

Don Yez was very happy to see the strides both schools have made to educate the industries future employees. “I am thoroughly impressed with the way the students interacted in their teams and with the technology they were working with. It was great to see.” Don’s only criticism was that it was disappointing not to have more industry people come out to watch. "Industry really needs to see what these school’s students are capable of and what they are learning on."

Reg Stanton echoed Yez’ remarks regarding the students: "All four of these students who participated in the competition have a bright future ahead of them.”

The idea behind Print Wars was to test the student’s ability to work under pressure while emulating the production process of a typical job in the industry. Each team had to run a job using the 4-colour Heidelberg SM52 and were judged on their ability to produce sellable sheets off the press and maintain quality for the production run.

SAIT is eager for a rematch and the second Alberta Print Wars competition is expected to run in Calgary during SAIT’s next open house in 2011.

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