- Total success: Print Promotion GmbH is holding a four-week, practical training course at the AZP training centre for print and media in Chemnitz
- Specialist teachers from 15 different countries deepen their knowledge of modern, quality-assured print processes
Adriana Rodriguez Lezaca is among the participants from 15 countries from Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. She has been teaching since 2006 at the Centre for Design Technology and Business Productivity in Giradot in Columbia. Despite all her professional experience, she reports she has already learnt so much in the first week. "There was a lot that was new to me, especially when it comes to data preparation and colour management".
First, the AZP team presented an overview of a quality-assured, largely standardised print workflow to the participants before beginning to explain to them each individual step from incoming data through to the finished print product. Theory and practice go hand in hand so prepress specialists can understand printing technology and vice versa.
Ms. Rodriguez Lezaca herself trained as an industrial designer and now teaches budding graphic designers. "It's important they understand the overall process and get to know about modern printing technologies and today's opportunities for quality assurance during their training", she says. To ensure that as many trainees as possible can benefit from her newly gained expertise, she will be passing on what she has learnt to her colleagues in centres that are part of SENA (Servicio Nacional de Apredizaje - the national education service). With its 117 training centres throughout Columbia, SENA is the second largest national education organisation in South America and systematically focuses on a dual education system.
Train the trainer courses create a multiplier effect
The fact that specialist teachers share what they have learnt with their students and colleagues is all part of the philosophy of PrintPromotion GmbH in holding such courses. "We train the experts so they can take on a multiplier role in their home countries", explains PrintPromotion's Managing Director Dr. Markus Heering. If the specialist teachers go home after the course with a higher awareness of quality and pass it on to future specialists, then this is long-lasting promotion for modern printing technologies. With this in mind, PrintPromotion has set up a global expert network as a non-profit organisation within the German print and paper machine manufacturing industry with the focus on gaining qualifications in modern, premium quality print processes.
For Adriana Rodriguez Lezaca there is another aspect of these training courses: the opportunity to exchange experiences with colleagues who often have to teach under difficult conditions. Her institute, for instance, shares the printing technology they need with SENA institutes in other regions. They have set up around a dozen computer workplaces for prepress in a converted bus, which is also equipped with several small digital and offset printing presses. When practice sessions are on the curriculum, this training print shop on wheels commutes back and forth between the regional institutes.
Groundwork for working with state-of-the-art printing technology
It was not easy either when Frank Boadu began teaching at the Kumasi university print shop in Ghana. State funds threatened to dry up. However, the team did not give up but actively acquired printing jobs from the university itself and local businesses. The print shop flourished, achieved financial independency and in the meantime actually helps to finance the university.
Students learn here under real market conditions and their teachers spend many evenings in the print shop, working on urgent jobs.
"Our revenues have shaped up so well that we have gradually been able to add modern print shop technology from Germany to our existing machine inventory", reports Frank Boadu, who in the meantime now heads prepress in the print shop. They bought another new machine at the last drupa, which is a good reason for the 31-year old to literally soak up the contents of the specialist teacher courses. What he learns here about modern print shop workflows is important in two respects. On the one hand, it will help him to fully exploit the new press's potential and on the other hand, he will be able to pass on his knowledge immediately to the next generation of print engineers and printers. "I'm learning here about the possibilities especially in colour management, colour proofing and calibration that at the moment we don't work with at all", he explains. The benefits of standardised quality assurance methods are plain to see: "You don't need many of these time-consuming coordination loops with the customer", he says.
According to Boadu, the aim of the university administration in Kumasi is to ensure that students can learn about state-of-the-art technology. This is already happening in the press sector. With the newest Computer-to-Plate technology and press and postpress machines from leading German manufacturers, the university is creating an environment that will produce highly qualified specialists for a modern printing industry. "We need more training and more education to meet the demands of the growing printing sector in Ghana", says Boadu. Whether publishing or packaging printing, the expert sees great potential in his home country since up to now many local companies have been outsourcing their printing to India or China. This hopefully is about to change. "For instance, to sustainably develop the packaging sector, we are focussing not only on packaging technology, design and printing but also recycling technologies", he reports.
Qualifications are the key
Thanuja Damayanthi Wijesiri Mudunkothge teaches at the Sri Lankan Institute of Printing (SLIOP) in Colombo. Students graduating with diplomas in graphic design, print technology & management, as well as visual communication & management can go on to do an MBA degree thanks to a collaboration with the University of Colombo. SLIOP has confidently set its sights on becoming a world-class enterprise that, with its qualified graduates, can help Sri Lanka's printing industry gain international competitiveness. "In the sectors printing technology, graphic design and visual communication we are the leading education facility in Sri Lanka", explains the young teacher. This is also because the instructors continue training and keep track of the new trends.
However, she also admits that the technology environment in her home country still trails behind such high goals. "We haven't got the sort of technology that we're working with here at the AZP in Sri Lanka yet", she says. However, because she can see how much technology needs to catch up, she considers it important as a teacher to get to know the latest technology. This way she can teach future specialists about cutting-edge technology, while keeping an eye on the future of the Sri Lankan printing industry. "We need better printing quality to keep up with world standards", she explains. The key to this is modern printing technology and quality assurance methods.