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The future of print

With programs and initiatives to recruit young workers, the print industry has a bright future


April 5, 2021
By Bob Dale

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PHOTO: KYONNTRA / E+/ GETTY IMAGESPHOTO: KYONNTRA / E+/ GETTY IMAGES

With everything that’s in the news today, it’s natural to have concern for the future. Pre-pandemic, one major concern for the industry was recruiting new talent, but as work in the industry returned to normal levels, this issue has not changed.

Looking ahead

While overall industry employment has declined in the past 15 years, it is projected that:

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  • The rate of decline is expected to flatten for the next 10 years.
  • Skilled trade workers are retiring faster than they are being replaced.
  • The packaging industry will experience significant annual growth.
  • There will be an increased need for higher skilled workers with new technology.
  • There will be a greater need for knowledge workers as communication channels become more integrated.
  • The majority of graduates from post-secondary programs that provide industry-specific training will continue to receive multiple job offers and higher compensation rates.

While government programs have not continued to assist in recruiting more skilled and talented workers, other organizations are doing something positive to help the industry.

Canadian Print Scholarships 

Under the direction of Chair Jeff Ekstein and the board of trustees, the Canadian Print Scholarships initiative, run by the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund, works hard to help students attending post-secondary institutions across Canada. Currently it supports nine institutions across the country.

The total value of the scholarships issued is regularly between $75,000 – $100,000 per year. It is funded by industry sources and donations. There are many success stories from students who have received financial support through this great program.

Eva’s Print Shop

Another initiative that provides print industry skills training is Eva’s Print Shop, run by Eva’s Initiatives in Toronto. This program was started in partnership with Eva’s Initiatives and Rotary Club member Doug Dempsey, founder of Delta Web, in the 1990s and has continued with industry, corporate and charitable support.

Eva’s Phoenix is an emergency facility that provides homeless youths with shelter, transitional housing and programming to help young people build brighter futures free of homelessness. It provides the tools to transition out of homelessness permanently and collaborate and innovate to end youth homelessness.

The Phoenix Print Shop offers a Graphic Communication and Print Training Program, designed to provide homeless and at-risk youth with career preparation support and skills training to help overcome barriers to employment and access entry-level jobs in the print industry, which will allow them to secure housing and transition to independent living.

The Phoenix Print Shop seeks commercial work to help prepare youth experiencing homelessness for employment in the graphics and print sector. The organization reinvests every dollar of profit into shelter, food, caring support and basic needs for homeless youth.

While we can’t underestimate the challenges faced by the industry due to the economic impact of the pandemic, we also can’t forget that there is a bright future for the graphic communications industry and we need young, talented people to join us in this rewarding and exciting industry. There is sure to be bright future.

Bob Dale is vice-president of Connecting for Results, Inc. Bob has many years of graphic communication management experience, including over 15 years offering management consulting services, transition execution and support. He can be contacted at info@connectingforresults.com or visit https://connectingforresults.com.

This article was originally published in the December 2020 issue of PrintAction.