Editor's Letter

Alison Carter
Monday, November 10, 2008

It was with a certain grim determination that I limbered up to write this month’s magazine leader. I was on the lookout for some good news. Something that could be considered to be buoyant; a definite departure from the gloom-laden headlines splashed across the media for all to see.

Not that I dismiss the seriousness of the situation that the country, indeed the world economy is in, or the ramifications that all corners of the print industry will feel, but there are good initiatives underway that I fear will be deluged in the raft of doom.

So, at the risk of being declared the industry’s Pollyanna, I burst forth with some good news in the sector.
Peter Ryder, principal at the Leeds College of Technology, has made sure that the college’s dedication to vocational learning continues, with its printing department taking up the challenge of lean manufacturing and changing the way it operates. Flexible delivery methods are being developed with new in-factory learning bases at Polestar Group and Newsprinters sites. Leeds currently supports students from companies including The Pindar Group, Alcan Packaging and St Ives.

And more good work at Leeds College – the news that it has partnered with Tesco to give print students the chance to take part in regular work placements with the retailer. Students will get a taste for real-life production processes at Tesco Media Publishing, working alongside Geoff Harris, publishing controller of operations and community, on the Tesco Direct catalogue.

And yet more on education, because, after all, this is the future of the sector. Two specialist print courses looking at developments and new applications in print technology have been organised by Colour Research for European Advanced Technology Employment (Create) at the University of the West of England. This international group started in 2007 to promote research and knowledge, and these courses explore how existing technology can be used across new sectors.

This blast of joy may be coloured by the fact that I have just benefited from the turmoil and bought my first house, albeit at a credit-crunched price, and am loafing my way through plenty of print in the form of home decorating and shopping catalogues. So there are a few winners out there.

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