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FLEXO Magazine : January 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES Virtual Training Guide T he relationship between training and success is no secret. The increasing difficulty of training and educating em- ployees is becoming apparent to associations, universities, and industry professionals alike. Staff needs to be trained on new capital equipment, as well as good quality control practices. While there will never be a substitute to live, hands-on, one-on-one teaching, there are irrefutable benefits to online education (see page 10). In increasing numbers, flexographic printers/converters as well as prepress providers and other firms are tapping into the virtual world and accessing online resources for training and education. Suppliers of all types are also making use of Web-based tools whenever possible to coach customers on new and existing prod- ucts. Others are taking more technical approaches, covering top- ics such as color management, sustainability, safety and more. What follows is a summary of various training and education options offered to the flexographic printing/converting commu- nity. Some are product and brand specific, and offer little value to those firms who are not current or prospective customers. Others are much more versatile, providing technical tips or fully accred- ited classes and certification training. 48 FLEXO JANUARY 2009 FTA/FFTA: TEST Quality education is the key to the future of the industry. This is true in flexographic printing/converting as much as any other business. TEST (Technical Education Services Team) was initiated in 2007 by FTA/FFTA under the premise that consistent flexo- graphic print education was the key to establishing consistent flexographic printing across North America. This would be ac- complished by aligning educational programs and source materi- als to FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances) guidelines. Another facet of the TEST program is the establishment of a Virtual Campus, in which educators and learners can come to find FIRST-compliant courses and material. At present, learn- ers can browse a complete catalogue of both self-paced and instructor-lead, Web-only classes in four major categories: Flexo Skills Certification,Health and Safety, Microsoft Training and Professional Development. In total, 158 courses are available. While the Virtual Campus officially opened Nov. 2008, the Flexo Skills Certifications have been offered online for several years. The Level I, II and III Web courses and exams correspond with those offered through various colleges and universities. In www. f le xography. org
End of Year 2008