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New resource enables print to better structure its recruitment, retention and training

Print Solutions

The pandemic saw training budgets radically slashed or abandoned, but a free new benefit from the Independent Print Industry Association (IPIA) will enable its members to realign recruitment, development and retention plans with where their business needs, or wants, to be.

The IPIA Training and Education sub-committee set up a roundtable with a cross-section of members to better understand how it prioritised and delivered training and development. Its importance was recognised but it was clear that there was often no specific budget, or it took second place to daily activities. Agreement was reached that a framework was needed, suitable for any sized business, that worked in tandem with other training such as regulatory and which provided a structured approach to identifying opportunities in people development. The ‘Powered by People’ framework was created by Cotmandene Training & Development Ltd in partnership with Canon Europe. and piloted this summer.

Jo Lloyd, sales and business coach from Cotmandene, said: ‘Training should be viewed as intrinsic to the success of any business, regardless of size. The implementation of a structured framework, designed to identify learning and development needs across all staff, is motivational and just plain good business.’

The framework doesn’t provide actual training but does signpost potential providers. Jo explained, ‘It is about the thinking behind the introduction of a training programme in the first instance, choosing who is trained and in what, apportioning budget, appraising people throughout the process, and recruiting and successfully onboarding the right people for the business.’

Reception from the pilot scheme was good – participants recognised its value. They found it a refreshing way to view their business status, their goals, the gap analysis of what they needed from their people, and if current skills were sufficient or if investment was required.

Spectrum Plastics started the pilot scheme in June. Its managing director Kath Doran said, ‘There were a few shocks, we had never looked at things that way before. It really brought home what we needed to look at and give priority to. It showed us where we were vulnerable in our studio which led to us recruiting someone in July who was willing to cover all aspects of what we needed.

‘It gave us structure in where to start, before drilling down further and making decisions on whether we could move people within the company or if we needed to recruit. The beauty of the framework is you can alter it to suit your business. You can appraise your company, departments and individuals and score them using a red, amber, green system; red meaning you need to pick something up and look at it. It strongly identifies skillsets you have got and whether you need to bring in training. It demonstrates long term commitment and future proofs your business. It brings everyone onboard and is very positive, especially in these uncertain times.’

Spectrum is a litho printer with digital capabilities. The Powered by People framework is making it evaluate its litho as it is keen to additionally attract a younger workforce. It is not alone as less than one in ten (9.5%) employees in the print sector is aged 16 to 24. Even as automation gathers pace, people still form a crucial element of any print business. If they want to retain and build existing teams, as well as recruit the right talent for the future, people development should be an essential aspect of every printing industry organisation.

Mathew Faulkner from Canon Europe observed, ‘More so than ever, businesses need to make themselves attractive and give their people the opportunity to grow. A learning and development framework is not just motivational for employees, it also makes IPIA members more attractive to candidates and is beneficial for skills brought to the workplace, so there are multiple advantages.

‘Canon is delighted to support this IPIA initiative, especially given the strength of feeling at the roundtable towards the importance of learning and development and its value not just for employees but also to businesses long term.’

The Powered by People framework comprises four elements – identifying needs, setting objectives, delivery options, and measuring and assessing return on investment. Members download the practical guides, tools and templates, read through them and get started. The framework is free to use by IPIA members and is designed as a simple to use, self-guided programme. Anyone inspired by the programme who is looking for additional one to one support, or who has more complex training needs, can seek further input at a cost, from Cotmandene or other training providers.

More information on Powered by People can be found at


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