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1000+ Students Connect with Industry at Careers Expos

The second stage of the education initiative run by ASGA and Visual Connections has seen well over 1000 students connect with industry representatives at a series of Careers Expos around the country during June, July and August.

The ambitious program is designed to generate interest and enquiries about industry careers from senior school students. It was relaunched by Visual Connections and ASGA this year and kicked off with the ‘Try-A-Trade’ initiative at Visual Impact Sydney in May, which saw more than a hundred Years 10, 11 and 12 students attend the show and try their hand at various graphics techniques.

This latest stage involved setting up a dedicated stand to promote the industry at Careers Expos, held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and, most recently, Perth. The idea was to expose the thousands of students, parents, teachers and careers advisors who attended the shows to the possibilities offered by a career in signage, displays, wide-format print and the wider graphics sector.

Mick Harrold, President of ASGA, said the initiative has been very successful in the past, with a pilot program of the current program model run in Sydney in 2019 – just prior to COVID – not only increasing the overall number of apprentices enrolling but also attracting more young women into industry careers.

“We knew from this experience that the model was right,” Harrold says, “but unfortunately the pandemic intervened and we were unable to run the program for a couple of years. This year, however, we are back and more ambitious than ever, taking the initiative national and engaging with a greater number of students than ever before.”

Tina Mavris and John Watters from Australian Schools Industry Partnership (AusSIP), who run the program for Visual Connections and ASGA, were on hand at each of the expos to talk about career and training options, and were joined by local TAFE representatives as well as volunteers from industry businesses, who were keen to share their real-life experience with the students.

“As we often find, the students we connected with at the expos this year were blown away by the scope, diversity and creativity of the print, sign and graphics sector,” AusSIP reports.

“More than a thousand individuals asked for more information about apprenticeships and training, and it was great to have industry and TAFE representatives on hand to provide more detailed information and contacts for the many students who showed a serious interest.”

Hundreds of enquiries are now being followed up, with the team expecting a good number of those to take advantage of the opportunity to attend an ‘Industry Taster Day’ later in the year.

“Already, our team is reporting a very high level of engagement and has referred a number of students to their local TAFE to explore various training options,” Harrold says. “We’re naturally delighted with this high level of interest, and the conversion rate of enquiries into qualified leads, which certainly augers well for the future of our industry.”

This third stage of the Education Initiative will see students with a qualified interest in taking up an apprenticeship able to spend a day visiting industry businesses to see how various trades work in a real-world setting, and to have more in-depth discussions with their local training providers.

The Visual Connections / ASGA Education Initiative was relaunched in an expanded format this year after a pandemic-induced pause. It previously ran for some 15 years, during which time it has successfully driven apprenticeship numbers and supported hundreds of young people into industry careers.

This year’s program is sponsored by Amari Visual Solutions, Ball & Doggett, Cactus Imaging, Fujifilm Graphic Systems, Graphic Art Mart, Mulford Plastics, ORAFOL, Pozitive Sign & Graphic Supplies, Sign-a-Rama, Starleaton and Visual Connections.


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