By Jennifer K. Blezard
The Tips, Tricks and Skills event hosted at SAIT Polytechnic this January was featured as a segment of annual International Printing Week celebrations.
The event provided a forum for students from the SAIT Digital Graphics Communication (DGC) program and NorQuest College in Edmonton, to exhibit their work and provide insight into some do’s and don’ts of printing. NorQuest is currently delivering SAIT’s DGC program to students in Edmonton.
The celebration was sponsored by the Alberta Graphic Arts Industry Network (aGain). Luda Paul, president of aGain and an instructor for the SAIT DGC program, was pleased to sponsor the event so that sector council, students and industry professionals could meet and network.
“We want to let the industry people know what our students are learning,” said Paul. Upon graduation, Paul has no doubts that SAIT and NorQuest’s DGC program alumni will find employment in the industry. Representatives from the Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC), aGain and industry professionals partook in event festivities.
Marie Eveline, executive director of CPISC announced the official launch of the Bridging the Gaps report at Tips, Tricks and Skills. The launch was followed by a press release on January 21. Eveline says Bridging the Gaps is essentially about re-training those already working in the industry.
Implemented as a means of pinpointing potential gaps in training, Bridging the Gaps is a resource used to determine the right tools needed to seal “gaps” in training for printing professionals. Project chair, Abe Giesbrecht says Bridging the Gaps will be a useful tool for the industry.
“Employers, educators and employees alike will benefit from this information as it will empower positive training and education decisions within our industry.” The SAIT and NorQuest DGC programs are keeping pace with technological demands and industry know-how.
For Dean McElhinney, general manager of Unicom Graphics, Tips, Tricks and Skills was an opportunity to see first-hand what DGC students are learning at SAIT and NorQuest. “They’re teaching what works,” said McElhinney.
Ashley Patton, 22, SAIT alumnus 2010, says events like Tips, Tricks and Skills are critical for establishing networks within the industry. ”It’s about making connections and making your name known,” said Patton. Patton is a customer service representative for Menzies Graphics Group, and made her initial contact with the Menzies Group at last year’s event.
Josh Ramsbottom, coordinator for the centre for excellence in print media at NorQuest College, says the collaboration of the two colleges was a highlight. Ramsbottom was eager that Tips, Tricks and Skills opened the door to industry and student networking opportunities. “It’s really important for industry to see education in Alberta is working to provide skilled workers.”
NorQuest plans to participate at next year’s event in partnership with SAIT. Willem Sijpheer, academic chair for the information and communications technology programs at SAIT, says student participation and involvement came across very strongly.
“They really got involved with their presentations to the audience and connected with the industry,” said Sijpheer. “Good journalism and printing are the lifeblood of our society. We need to encourage young people to look at the printing and publishing industry as a career opportunity. It offers exciting and challenging careers. We don’t train for jobs. We train for careers.”