PrintIT! Looks to Ipex 2010 to Celebrate Britain’s Best Young Talent and Launch PrintIT! Year Six

Printit 2006 Finalists
Finalists from the PrintIT! 2006 competition gather in the atrium of the Birmingham NEC at Ipex 2006

With the final judging of the 2009/2010 competition entries complete, PrintIT! is looking to Ipex 2010 to join with industry supporters and sponsors to celebrate the best of Britain’s young talent, honour all the finalist students and their teachers, and present category winners with individual awards as well prizes for their schools in the form of print-related equipment.

Ipex 2010 marks another significant milestone for PrintIT!, and sees the culmination of the first five years of the initiative, which celebrated its inaugural awards ceremony at Ipex in 2006. Since then, PrintIT!, which has maintained its partnership with leading charity The Fairtrade Foundation, has engaged over 100,000 students from over 1,000-schools in England, won two awards, gained endorsements from Government and Royalty, as well as seen the launch of a new version for schools in Scotland. Designed to meet the curriculum criteria of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, PrintIT! Scotland has already attracted registrations from 30% of all Scottish secondary schools and nearly 4,000 students in the first few weeks. PrintIT! has also provided the framework for the introduction of ‘DigIT! to BuildIT!’ developed by Proskills, and covering a similar scheme of work and objectives for youngsters linked to the Building Products and Extractives industries.

Since taking over the management of PrintIT! from Picon in April 2007, Proskills has itself invested over £500,000 in the project, supplemented by the sponsorship and support gained from industry. Each year, on average, PrintIT! costs in the region of £200,000, of which approximately 25% comes from industry sponsorship, in the form of cash, prizes, advertising, paper, print, in addition to the time taken by printers who ‘twin’ with their local schools as part of the Twinning Programme which remains a vital element of the course.

“The significance of the support PrintIT! achieves from Industry is without question, and it is a testament to the commitment of Industry as a whole that we have been fortunate enough to maintain this level of support during a very difficult economic climate”, says Tom Bowtell, general manager of Proskills who is responsible for the team delivering PrintIT!. “We remain fully committed to the project and are currently working on plans for PrintIT! 2010/11 and I am delighted with the commitment we have already received from several sponsors to date.”

In addition, the recent restructuring of project resourcing within Proskills has resulted in the creation of a larger project team going forward. The new PrintIT! team is led by Jo Chapman, the Proskills Education & Schools Programmes Manager. Jo is supported by Jan Cassidy, Schools and Industry Co-ordinator, who will continue to provide the backbone of day to day project administration, and Richard Moore, Proskills Industry Lead for Print and Paper, as well as having access to the resources of the Proskills marketing team headed by Terri Jones, head of marketing & communications.

Jo Chapman, a former teacher, has been the Education Manager at Proskills for the last three years working on the development of the new government-backed 14-19 Diplomas. With her background in education, and her knowledge of working with industry partnerships gained when she managed an award winning ‘Schools Into Industry’ programme in the glass industry, Jo is well positioned to take over the role of Project Manager for PrintIT! and engage the support of the industry to develop PrintIT! going forward.

The PrintIT! team is already reviewing new developments for PrintIT! 2010/11, which will be launched to schools for the start of the new academic year in September 2010, with the awards ceremony scheduled for Spring 2011. While PrintIT! is keen to enlist feedback and suggestions from its sponsors and industry stakeholders, current proposals for next year include revisiting the scheme of work to update workbooks for students and teachers, introducing new paper and sustainability modules, taking a more proactive tracking of PrintIT! students through social networking sites, apprenticeship schemes and school career programmes as well as reviewing and updating the website.

Tom Bowtell adds, “PrintIT! remains a flagship initiative within our portfolio of education and schools programmes at Proskills. We are all immensely proud of PrintIT! and of what has been achieved over the past five years, and acknowledge the support and hard work that everyone involved has put into making this programme such a success. With the expanded PrintIT! team now in place, with access to greater resources and specialist skills, I am confident we can continue to work with stakeholders and industry supporters to build on a truly successful initiative and secure its long term success.”

The 2009/2010 PrintIT! Awards Ceremony takes place during Ipex 2010, on Saturday 22nd May 2010 in Concourse Suite 1 & 2. George Clarke, chairman of PrintIT!, managing director of Heidelberg and president of Ipex 2010 said, “Having been part of the final PrintIT! judging panel, I have been extremely motivated by the creativity, talent and understanding of print that these entries displayed, and where better to celebrate this talent and showcase our industry to these youngsters than at Ipex. To know that over 100,000 students have engaged in PrintIT! and learnt something about our industry can only help our long term goal to improve the image of UK Print plc and encourage this wealth of talent to consider a future career in print.”