Proskills is calling on all print, paper and packaging companies to donate to save PrintIT! or risk losing the student print design competition within a year.
The skills organisation, a not-for-profit limited company and registered charity, is calling for companies to stump up at least £70,000 if the decade-old scheme is to be saved, following the loss of Government funding.
Proskills chief executive Jonathan Ledger used this week's call for companies to take up the 2016 PassIT! baton to warn the industry it had to dig deeper into its pockets.
Since its launch, 150,000 pupils and nearly 2,500 schools have entered the competition to design print-based products from start to finish and learn about career routes and apprenticeships.
“PrintIT! needs about £70,000 a year in hard cash to pay for the marketing team that runs it – not my salary – and even with the goodwill of the industry we barely scraped £11,000 last year,” Ledger said.
Much of that £11,000 came from fundraising initiatives such as PassIT! and from printing charities, said Ledger. Without £70,000, the initiative could fold next year, he warned.
“We spent £750,000 in three years propping up the programme, which was the reserves we had from when the government put up funding.
“Over the last four years we have gone from a government organisation to a registered charity and no longer get grants from Westminster.
“The programme doesn't run on fresh air. I can't fault the in-kind help such as brochure printing, but the industry has to ask itself how much it really wants this programme.”
PassIT! is an annual campaign run by Proskills and led by Duplo UK to raise funds and awareness for the 'Schools into Industry' scheme to coax young people into apprenticeships.
The fundraising begins next month and the baton will be passed from company to company until December 2016.
Activities last year included cake sales, charity barbeques, long-distance runs and cycles, training services for free in exchange for donations and charity fun days.
Participants can choose the month they want to fundraise. Last year’s campaign raised £4,340 but this year organisers want to drum up twice as much money for PrintIT!
Companies taking part last year included Optimus, Apogee, Taopix, Vpress, Renz and Vivid.
Cash raised for PrintIT! will be used to improve the programme’s materials, contribute to school visits into industry and the development of new learning activities and competitions.
Ledger said: “We are grateful Duplo UK has agreed to lead our PassIT! fundraising campaign for 2016.
“But Duplo alone cannot help us achieve the key industry ambition to showcase the industry to young people and to encourage them to take up careers in the sector.
“We need you all to be involved. Gone are the days when PrintIT! can be supported from our reserves or other sources.
“It’s time for the industry to come together and help us keep PrintIT! vibrant and live for future generations of printers, paper manufacturers and more.”
He said Proskills and Duplo were “reaching out” to all companies in the industry that would like to be involved.
Ledger said he welcomed small and independent businesses to large international corporations, and those interested could visit www.proskills.co.uk/printit-passit.
Duplo UK marketing manager Sarah Crumpler said: “Duplo has been supporting PrintIT! since its inception in 2005, we believe that initiatives such as this are key to driving fresh new talent into our industry by educating and enthusing young people about the opportunities available to them.”