Supporting the next generation of print excellence Contact Originators and the FIA UK Academy

The label and packaging printing industry is one of the largest individual sectors in the UK and contributes enormously to the country’s economy. However, it currently faces a significant challenge concerning training and education.

Printing is considered a legacy industry where skills and equipment have been refined over many years to find the optimal balance of technique and technology. However, as this experience gradually ages out of the workforce one retirement at a time, competition with high-growth tech industries means fresh talent is often drawn elsewhere.

Dedicated third party resources that offer print industry-specific learning opportunities to upskill new workers in the sector are limited, and there is no recognised education pathway into print through schools and universities. The first rung of the career ladder in the print sector is splintering, and it falls to those within the industry today to fix it.

At Contact Originators, we are immensely proud of our highly talented and motivated team, and the work we put in to shape the next generation of print and reprographics professionals. Developing and retaining talent in the print sector may have become a significant challenge, but it’s one that we continually overcome by investing in our people.

We have now enrolled our team in the FIAUK Academy to strengthen our knowledge of the flexo process in general, in addition to their knowledge of Contact Originator’s core areas of expertise.

What is the FIAUK Academy?

FIAUK is an industry association that represents the interests of the UK flexographic print sector. As part of its activities, the organisation has built an e-learning platform – the FIAUK Academy – to make learning accessible and close key knowledge gaps in the flexo printing sector.

Created and curated by leading flexo print experts, the Academy is designed to benefit the entire flexo print supply chain, from designer through repro and printer to retailer.

It provides participants with broader and more robust knowledge of flexo print processes through modules on topics such as inks, fault-finding, film substrates, and lean manufacturing.

Participants can take the opportunity to view valuable resources and articles, with chances to practice and test their knowledge before taking an online module assessment. Each completed module counts towards certFIA and dipFIA accreditation, bolstering the flexo talent pool with qualified operators.

There is more to the Academy than exams and reading, however. The online modules can also be supplemented with additional hands-on learning opportunities to provide participants with vital real-world flexo industry experience.

Part of this in-person training involves visiting businesses that specialise in module topics to see their expertise put into action. We are proud to be one of those businesses, and we regularly host FIAUK Academy students at our HQ to view plate production.

Why are we enrolling our team in the FIAUK Academy?

Contact Originators believe that if a team isn’t moving forwards, it’s moving backwards. As the go-to name in reprographics and origination, our team has outstanding knowledge of areas such as colour management and plate production, but it’s important that we also have a 360-degree view of the whole flexo industry. This lets us react quickly to issues that occur further upstream in the supply chain if needed, as the impact from these issues can often reverberate through the whole chain.

As such, the training covers key skills and functions that the Contact Originators team might not be involved in day to day, but which still add value to our business and the industry as a whole by putting more pieces of the print and packaging jigsaw together and sharpening skillsets.

Ultimately, we believe that by completing training on the established FIAUK Academy platform, our team is able to push service and performance to even greater heights.

What topics does the FIAUK Academy cover?

The modules available to the Contact Originators team are diverse and are intended to give a more well-rounded knowledge of the print industry.

The complete selection of modules includes:

Introduction to printingMounting and Proofing
Introduction to colourSetting a Machine
Inks – design, application and useFault Finding
Anilox RollsSubstrates – Paper
Metering SystemsSubstrates – Film
Printing PlatesLean Manufacturing
ReprographicsColour Management

The Contact Class of ’22 includes employees working across all departments within the business, including studio and accounts, to support a new generation of the industry’s next leaders and managers.

To find out more about the latest Contact innovations, get in touch