Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems Ltd. has donated $185,000 in business management software to the Centre for Excellence in Print Media at NorQuest College in Edmonton. Avanti develops a suite of software modules to be applied as a Management Information System within printing companies.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer our students the ability to gain hands-on experience with a software tool developed in Canada,” said Norma Schneider, Dean of Business and Industry Careers at NorQuest.

Students of NorQuest’s printing program, which last year opened the Centre for Excellence in Print Media, graduate with a Digital Graphics Communications Diploma. As the largest community college in Alberta, NorQuest has about 10,000 full- and part-time students each year.

"There is a tremendous synergy between Avanti’s mission and NorQuest’s goal of helping print companies in Western Canada to become more efficient and profitable,” said Avanti President Patrick Bolan. “NorQuest is recognized throughout Canada for its ability to deliver graduates that hit the ground running and add real-world value to their new employers."

Heidelberg Canada hosted an event at its Mississauga headquarters this week, focusing on the topic of social media and its potential impact for printing companies.

Former PrintAction editor Julian Mills, now Vice President of Client Development at Prescient Digital Media, highlighted the various ways printers can use emerging social-media technologies to network with its existing clientele, as well as find new prospects. Sites such as LinkedIn and the usage of blogs to keep a company's Internet presence fresh is key to gaining new clients, according to Mills.

The presentation by Mills was followed by a demonstration of Heidelberg's Anicolor press and its low-waste, quick change-over abilities.

NorQuestFor two days in February 2010 (18th and 19th), Edmonton's NorQuest College is scheduled to hold what it describes as a Variable Data Printing and Cross Media Marketing workshop with Dr. Penny Bennett.

The author of  "The Handbook for Digital Printing and Variable-Data Printing," Bennett will make the trip up north from Cal-Poly’s printing program. She has presented workshops at several printing exhibitions, including the recent PRINT 09 show in Chicago.

According to NorQuest: “This timely workshop will discuss the current state of digital printing, direct marketing and provide a forecast for its impact on the printing and creative industries. Along with marketing trends, this comprehensive workshop will also approach how to deal with day-to-day issues such as data management and finishing processes.”

The workshop, which includes two lunches and a networking dinner, will also provide hands-on experience of working with XMPie’s software for enabling VDP printing. Registration is $625 and the workshop is to be limited to 24 attendees.

More information can be found at the NorQuest website.

In a tightly contested competition, Simon Beauchamp of Quebec was awarded with a bronze medal in the offset printing category at this year's WorldSkills competition, held in Calgary. Two gold and two bronze awards were given out by the organizers.

Ernst Martin of Switzerland had the top score of the competition with 542, followed by Kikuchi Noriaki of Japan with 541. Germany's Groß Stefan also took home a bronze with a score of 533. Beauchamp achieved a score of 531.

Canadian competitors received eight medals in total: gold awards in cabinetmaking, graphic design technology and restaurant service; silver awards in aircraft maintenance, web design and beauty therapy; and bronze medals in fashion technology and offset printing. Korea led the competition with 22 medals, followed by Switzerland and Japan with 14 medals each.

Quebec's Simon Beauchamp has placed within the top five of the offset printing category after one day of competition at this year's Worldskills, being held in Calgary this week.

Beauchamp is joined by Martin Ernst of Switzerland, Stefan Groß of Germany, Tsz-kin Liu of Hong Kong, and Amela Mujkic of the United States. Beauchamp is one of 52 Canadian competitors in this year's WorldSkills Competition, representing a large variety of trades.

The other Canadians with the top five placements after the first day are: Marc-Olivier Bélanger of Quebec for Welding, Scott Blair of Ontario for Carpentry; Matthew Chadder of Alberta for IT PC/Network Support and Brian Everts of British Columbia for Aircraft Maintenance.

The WorldSkills Competition is a "means of exchange and comparison of world-class competency standards in the industrial trades and service sectors of the global economy." Competition is held in all 45 categories each day and a panel of 15 report on the top five of each skill.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 4 - Simon Beauchamp fared less well in the second day of competition where he, along with Switzerland competitor Martin Ernst, was replaced by representatives from Belgium and The Netherlands in the top five of the day.



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