BPIF calls for support over 'impractical' apprenticeship standard

Abi Etchells
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The BPIF is urging printers to support its call for the government to review its conditions for the creation of a 'trailblazer' print apprenticeship standard.

The standard was originally drawn up by a consortium that included the BPIF and a number of printing businesses. It comprised a core print element as well as optional pre- and post-press modules.

However, upon submission, the government's Trailblazer Panel made it a condition for its creation that the standard require apprentices to master both pre- and post-press skills as well as the core print skills.

The BPIF believes that it is not realistic for apprentices to secure expertise across all three areas and that as a result the standard will be impractical and will "reduce overall levels of expertise".  

“If you focus on one option then you can become a true expert or true master. But it goes back to the phrase: jack of all trades, master of none," said Ursula Daly, BPIF programme director.

"If you combine the three options, then you will lower the standard of all three.”

Daly added that, due to the differing nature of the options – with pre-press being more technical and finishing being more practical – scheme operators might find it difficult to attract candidates. 

The single standard may also affect the pay rates of some companies as there would be no way of distinguishing between the roles.

Daly said that she had been contacted by an "exceedingly high" number of businesses concerned with the standard over a matter of days.

Despite a number of resubmissions, the Trailblazer Panel remains wedded to a single standard covering all three fields. As a result the BPIF is now asking printers to log their own concerns with the BPIF, which will then submit a portfolio of evidence to the Institute of Apprenticeships.

The closing date for support submissions is 31 March 2017.

For more information and to log your concerns, visit: www.britishprint.com/printtrailblazer.

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