In my four years in and around the packaging industry, I have often heard people grumbling that the industry should do more to interest schoolchildren in packaging and its variety of related professions; in manufacturing, retail, logistics, engineering, design and so on.
Yet, with a couple of notable exceptions – the PrintIT! scheme run by the British Printing Industries Federation and the Schools Starpacks run by the Packaging Society spring to mind – there has been limited followup to this sense that we, as an industry, aren’t doing enough to get the next generation interested.
So a number of press releases that have crossed the PN desk in the last few weeks have been extremely encouraging. Sherwood Press in Nottingham, as we report on page 8, has worked with a local primary school to provide grow boxes for an Easter bulb-planting project. Glass pack manufacturer O-I’s Alloa factory, meanwhile, has launched a safety campaign using designs made by children at a local school. The CPI has updated its teaching material for the schools sector about the paper industry. And Nestlé has been working with Nottingham Trent University on a packaging and product design project.
This all adds to a run of positive industry engagement with the issues of training and generally encouraging its younger members to get involved. The PPMA Show has launched a Rising Star award; the UK Packaging Awards has too; and flexo print association EFIA unveiled an online training academy in March.
This is not proof that these things have never happened before; they certainly have. But it does suggest there is a greater desire out there to talk about them. That’s the right thing to do; we at PN want more of it and look forward to hearing more from the industry about what it is doing.
Josh Brooks is brand director of Packaging News