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Sign & Print Career Connections Launched in Melbourne

The Sign & Print Career Connections program, an industry-wide initiative to attract new talent to the print, sign and wider graphics sector, was officially launched at the Victorian Careers & Employment Expo in Melbourne in March.

Thousands of students flocked to the new, bright stand over the three-day event in Melbourne.

The initiative is led by supplier association Visual Connections in partnership with the Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA), FESPA Australia, the Flexible Packaging & Label Manufacturers’ Association (FPLMA), the LIA and the Visual Media Association (VMA), in a genuine ‘whole of industry’ approach.

More than 6,500 students, their parents, teachers and careers counsellors are expected to attend the Melbourne expo, which saw the unveiling of the Sign & Print Career Connections new, bold and eye-catching stand, produced with the generous support of VMA and their partners at IVE Group.

On hand to provide careers advice over the three days were Tina Mavris and John Watters from Australian Schools Industry Partnership (AusSIP) who have worked with ASGA and Visual Connections for close to a decade to develop and refine the program, as well as TAFE experts and current apprentices, and a number of industry professionals who will help give visiting students a ‘real world’ perspective on industry careers.

ASGA President Mick Harrold talks to students about industry careers.

Despite the fact that print, signage and graphics is probably one of the world’s most visible industries, it is often overlooked when students are considering trade careers. This innovative program encourages students to explore industry careers and, more importantly, connects them to the information, resources and opportunities they need to get involved.

The Sign & Print Career Connections program was developed precisely for the expo’s target market – Years 9 to 11 students, predominantly, as they start to explore ideas for their future careers. Piloted over the past few years with ASGA, it has seen enrolments in the Cert III for Sign & Graphics more than triple since 2015, and organisers are confident we will see that success mirrored across the industry.

Students showed great interest in the range of Try-A-Trade activities.

The on-stand team was inundated with enquiries from the time doors opened, with particular interest shown in the ‘Try-A-Trade’ experiences supported by Pozitive Sign & Graphics Supplies and Victoria University Polytechnic. Familiar to many who have attended past Visual Impact and PacPrint exhibitions, these activities give students the opportunity to try their hand at print and graphics tasks like fabric printing, vinyl cutting and weeding, engraving and vinyl wrapping.

Tina Mavris from AusSIP says there were plenty of options on stand in Melbourne.

“We had a Bflex and heat press on stand, allowing students to transfer an image of their choice onto a tote bag, and a small Summa cutter which they could use to shape-cut pre-printed skateboard-style stickers,” she reports. “There was also a spindle engraver which they could use to put their name onto keyring tags, and there was a line a mile long for most of the day to try vinyl wrapping on a motorbike fuel tank!”

A new, 20-pp brochure and online resource have been launched for students.

Generating interest is one thing – but connecting students with the information, training options and employment opportunities they need to pursue that interest is vital and Visual Connections has invested significant time and resources to provide a ‘one-stop’ resource to help join the dots.

“Navigating the training landscape can be really challenging for students, and few careers advisors in schools are familiar enough with our industry to be much help to those who are interested,” Tina acknowledges.

“To support the in-person experience, we’re handing out a new, 20-page booklet outlining career opportunities across the sector, and a supporting micro-site, hosted by Visual Connections, has also been launched to allow students to access information on industry careers and relevant events, and to search for courses, training options and career opportunities.”

Download the Sign & Print Career Connections brochure here, or find out more about the program at

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