Abdool Majid Mahomed, chief executive of Printing SA, used outreach, eLearning modules and webinars to keep member companies and employees happy, healthy and motivated during the pandemic in South Africa.
What are the most important benefits Printing SA offers to printers in South Africa and beyond?
Printing SA, also known as the Print Industries Federation of South Africa NPC (PIFSA), has a long and proud history – 110 years to be exact. We service the entire value chain of printing, packaging, signage and visual communications, from prepress to post press, and we consider ourselves the voice of the industry.
Our tagline, ‘For you – we confer, consult, campaign and train’, embraces the four pillars of benefits for members.
We represent the industry at government level, engaging with new bills, consulting with member companies and informing them of the effects of impending regulations on their businesses. We also engage closely with the Department of Trade and Industry’s International Trade Administration Commission, which reviews tariffs and duties on exports and imports in this sector, and we lobby on behalf of our members.
Dr Abdool Majid Mahomed, CEO of Printing SA
We provide consultancy services on human resource management, labour and industrial relations, health and safety matters, broad-based black economic empowerment compliance, as well as workplace skills planning and annual training reports submissions to sector education and training authorities.
Our members can access cutting-edge research, generate business leads by uploading their services offered, search for job seekers who have flighted their CVs or advertise current vacancies, and use a tender portal that grants them access to work opportunities across the continent.
Our weekly newsletter is packed with the latest information and trends, and a vibrant social media presence ensures our members receive relevant and timely information. Our active webinar outreach programmes have given members up-to-date information of industry trends and services offered. We also interpret the latest regulations applicable to print businesses and undertake Print Secure certification for companies involved in high-security printing.
What is the value of belonging to FESPA?
Printing SA joined FESPA in 2014 and since then has been actively involved in promoting all the FESPA Sign Expos held in South Africa that cater for the entire continent. Every year regional expos were hosted in major cities, with the large one held in September alongside the annual gala dinner and awards for the industry. Both the Secretary and President have been attending the annual meetings held with FESPA internationally. FESPA’s events and amazing resources on the website are shared and available to all Printing SA members as added benefits to their membership.
How does training help printers keep the pipeline of future printers flowing?
We are an accredited training provider, providing quality and demand-driven holistic education. Our foundational programmes cater for those who have recently entered the industry and the world of work, and are intended to inspire participants to take up a career in this vibrant industry. Our range of technical and theoretical programmes nurtures apprentices and artisans, giving them both theoretical and practical skills training in the workplace.
Advanced middle and senior management programmes are also offered by universities. These are aimed at managers with relevant skills to add value to the pivotal role they will be expected to play in their companies.
Our short learning programmes are aligned to new occupational qualifications that will be registered on our National Qualifications Framework in due course. We represent the industry at the Quality Council for Trade and Occupations and the National Artisan Development Advisory Body.
In 2021 we will be introducing print- and packaging-specific Adobe Creative Cloud blended eLearning courses, catering to the visual communications sector of our industry.
Besides training, we also offer our members speaking opportunities at our conferences, member forums and Industry events. Our golf days hosted provide unique networking engagements, through which lasting relationships are built.
Our representation on many boards helps us promote print interests. These include the South African Chamber of Commerce (SACCI), the SA Typographical Union’s Pension and Provident Fund, the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority, and the SA Book Development Council. In addition, we are active members of the World Print and Communication Forum and FESPA, as well as Proudly SA, which seeks to promote local manufacturing.
How have eLearning courses managed to inspire Printing SA members and help them to progress?
The Colour Management eLearning course was developed by Printing SA with financial assistance from FESPA and was successfully piloted internationally in 2020.
This course was aimed at anyone responsible for the measurement, control and management of colour, from concept and design to prepress and printing. It requires 20 notional hours for completion.
This media-rich interactive course introduces learners to the complex field of colour management in the printing, packaging, signage and visual communications industry. The following topics are covered:
• Introduction to digital colour
• Light, illumination and colour
• Colour communication
• Colour measurement and control
• Working with ICC profiles
The course will run again in March 2021, and at other times during the year depending on the demand.
How have the webinars hosted since the appearance of COVID-19 helped?
We have run pertinent webinars since March 2020, when COVID reached our shores. Recordings are available on our website.
In 2021 so far, we have hosted a webinar on “Prioritising the wellbeing of staff”, covering questions around the vaccine roll-out and COVID-related challenges in the workplace.
In April, we will host Productivity SA to introduce its Competitive Improvement programme offerings to our members.
Expect many more webinars to be hosted in 2021 – details will appear on our website once the programme and speakers have been confirmed.
How does Printing SA intend to increase engagement with both professional and younger print entrepreneurs?
Regular contact is kept up with senior and junior professional staff, some from large companies but the majority from small and medium-sized enterprises. All members are invited to participate in our bi-monthly forums, at which talented speakers talk on a broad array of interesting topics. However, COVID restrictions have meant that for the time being we have hosted many more webinars instead of these forums.
When network TV stations approach Printing SA for comment, we pass on the opportunities for younger print entrepreneurs to showcase themselves. We have also made applications to host outbound trade missions, identify new entrants into the industry and send them to attend international expos, such as Drupa.
We have also been approached to host the SA chapter of the World Skills Expo by identifying one potential 22-year-old to display his/her skill on the world stage. The competition will run in 2021 in South Africa, and one finalist will represent the country in Shanghai in 2022.
Young entrepreneurs can also grasp the opportunity to be mentored by a team of experienced veterans from the industry through an initiative spearheaded by the National Mentorship Movement. The funding has recently been approved and will target 20 SMMEs in the sector and 30 unemployed youths to receive mentoring opportunities and training over a period of a year.
by FESPA Staff