The EFIA’s offering includes its online academy, hands-on training programmes, and schemes for apprenticeships, continuous professional development (CPD) and management training.
The initiative was undertaken to help increase the flexibility and collaborative nature of the EFIA’s extensive range of services.
Consultant chief executive Debbie Waldron-Hoines said: “What we want to offer is a hub to which companies can come for all their training needs. We rely on our members to help with the content, as it is developed based on their needs.
“Our drive is based on two issues. One is the skills shortage, meaning we need to upskill people working in our industries. The other is the sector’s high average age. We need to entice new people into the industry so we remain productive.
“I believe we are the only UK organisation that offers such detailed flexographic training. I am working with a number of other industry bodies to get the word out there and, as the bulk of this training is available online, it is accessible to everyone.”
The EFIA Academy sits at the heart of the offering, running 14 online training modules on subjects including inks, fault finding, film substrates, reprographics and lean manufacturing.
According to Waldron-Hoines, further modules will be developed based on user demand – with a 15th on colour management currently in the works and high interest in areas such as die-cutting and conversion for corrugated.
The EFIA is collaborating with SkillCert to offer performing manufacturing operations (PMO) apprenticeships at Level 2, making use of modules from its online academy, and hopes to take advantage of changes to the apprenticeship levy, including a reduction in contribution for small businesses from 10% to 5% introduced in the recent Budget.
CPD will now be easier to track as the EFIA has introduced its own framework to improve recording and score-keeping on its accredited offerings.
In collaboration with Leeds Beckett University and the Retail Institute, the EFIA management training courses are open to participants at all employment levels with courses ranging from Level 3 up to the most advanced Level 7. A complete Level 7 course can grant a fast track onto Leeds Beckett’s MSc course in executive leadership.
Waldron-Hoines said: “By offering a full suite of training options, not only for all areas of the print sector but also to employees at every stage of their careers, we can address the gap in training and recruitment that has long been present in the flexographic industry and ensure it thrives for years to come.”