TAFE NSW graduate and Bathurst local Abbie Graham is keeping the fine art of printing alive as the 2021 Lithographic Institute of Australia (LIA) and Heidelberg Graduate of the Year for New South Wales.
As one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Australia, the printing and graphic arts industry is a significant contributor to many aspects of the Australian economy and workforce, with an estimated 6,500 businesses in operation and almost 27,000 people employed in related occupations. Abbie is one of only a few women (11% across the industry) to pursue a career in the sector.
The 20-year-old joined the team at Spatial Services during her final year of high school and last year completed her Certificate III in Print Communications and Graphic Arts at TAFE NSW Ultimo where she topped her class.
Digital Services at Spatial Services is the longest running printing service in Australia, and has a proud history in government, producing maps and other printed material from as early as the 1800s. Abbie said despite her immediate interest in the trade, she was initially nervous to pursue her career.
“I used to be a very anxious person. I attended TAFE NSW Ultimo which is in the middle of Sydney, where I had never been on my own before so at first, I was terrified to go,” Abbie said.
“After the first few trips to Sydney I got used to it, in fact I enjoyed it and I started to really look forward to going. I liked how I was treated as an adult and that I was able to get real, hands-on experience, instead of doing only theory work.”
TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Printing Craig Rollins said young skilled workers like Abbie were pivotal in maintaining the longevity of the industry.
“TAFE NSW plays an important role in equipping students and apprentices with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the industry,” Craig said.
“We’re very proud of the calibre of our graduates and Abbie is no exception, we’d love for more young people to discover the challenging and rewarding world of printing here at TAFE NSW.”
Abbie will now advance to the National Print Awards where a national winner will be selected to receive the Visual Connections/LIA National Graduate Scholarship Prize. She encourages anyone with a passion to consider study at TAFE NSW.
“Go for it. Not only did TAFE NSW teach me a lot about my trade, it helped me build confidence in my abilities and independence.
To learn more about printing and graphics courses at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile 0402 528 210.