Jess McAuley had never discussed joining a union, but she can see the merit after discovering the AMWU’s co-operation with employers in developing competency-based apprenticeship like the one she is so enjoying.
The AMWU’s central role in modernising apprenticeships through the FuturePrint program surprised many participants like Jess at this week’s FuturePrint apprentice forum, who said they now understood our broader contribution beyond wage and conditions issues.
“It’s good the union looks after the industry as well individuals, the health of the industry effects us all, so it’s important to keep up the standards and keep us all close” said the digital print apprentice.
Happy learning curve: Jess McAuley with FuturePrint project manager Dov Hirst
Ms McAuley is soaking up the trade with Drum Printing, a small but energetic firm at Mandura, south of Perth, which she joined from a school training program.
She ‘s already at Level 4 of her apprenticeship after just 18 months and hopes to qualify soon.
“Really, I’m a bit of a jack of all trades,” she says, as she does digital printing, pre-press work, graphic design and liaison with clients not only in Mandura but globally via an internet ordering link.
The firm designs and prints business stationary but her boss Mark Banner has purchased a wide format machine, which Ms McAuley helps use for products like vinyl bumper stickers for cars.
“It’s important to know the print background but also link into new methods and products,” she said.
“Until I came to this forum it was very easy to hear negative voices about the industry, some of the older blokes saying it won’t be around. But I feel a lot better than that, very comfortable in my job – I love it.”