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Heidelberg International training initiative gets under way

Press release from the issuing company

April 8, 2008 -- Heidelberg is committed to helping vocational schools, colleges and universities that provide print media industry training in the emerging markets of India, Turkey, South Africa, and Ukraine. A special advanced training course for teachers and lecturers at these establishments should significantly improve the training available in these countries so that they are able to satisfy the requirements of the international print media industry. The initiative kicked off in Münster, where a group of Indian teachers have started their training.

The first of a total of four training cycles started on Monday, April 7 with the arrival of ten Indian vocational school teachers as part of a PPP (Public Private Partnership) between the Print Media Academy (PMA) of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG and the investment and development company Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG). India, Turkey, South Africa and Ukraine have been selected to take part in the pilot project. If it proves a success, the project will be extended to other countries.

The initiative is a response to the fact that printing industry training in many emerging markets is still inadequate and not sufficiently geared to modern technologies. Bernd Schopp, Head of the PMA, explained that teachers were falling short in terms of both theoretical knowledge and practical know-how, and the teaching materials and equipment in the establishments were outmoded. He added that, comparatively speaking, there was great growth potential for the printing sector in these countries and pointed out that, although modern equipment was increasingly being used by print shops, the quality of the print products only rarely met international standards. This, he said, was due in no small part to inadequately trained staff and incorrect press operation.

"As a world market leader in offset printing, we take our responsibility towards the industry and our customers very seriously. By narrowing or eliminating the gap that exists in emerging markets between the increasingly high-tech equipment of many print shops and the specialist know-how of skilled personnel, we are looking to make a major contribution to the long-term advancement of the print media industry," stated Dr. Jürgen Rautert, Director for Engineering and Manufacturing at Heidelberg.

Under the initiative, ten printing and media teachers at vocational schools in each country will take part in a four-week intensive course in Germany to learn about the latest printing industry technologies and modern teaching methods. Participants will also be given up-to-date training materials. On their return to their own countries, they will incorporate what they have learnt into their teaching and also pass on their newly acquired knowledge to other trainers, thereby efficiently implementing the train-the-trainer principle. Heidelberg will provide the teachers with further local support through its branches in the relevant countries, thereby ensuring that the training initiative brings sustained benefits.

The Indian teachers were the first group to start their training, which started on Monday and will continue until April 30. Further courses for the remaining participants will follow in the fall.

Groups will complete the first part of the course at the Vocational Training Center of the Münster Chamber of Crafts and Skilled Trades (HBZ). Here they will obtain theoretical knowledge and practical know-how across the entire production chain - from prepress and press to postpress. Further topics will include occupational safety and working with substances that are harmful to the environment. The HBZ is equipped with state-of-the-art presses and therefore offers ideal conditions for the practical part of the course. During the final week of training, participants will learn about the latest printing trends and technologies and contemporary teaching methods at the PMA in Heidelberg.

There were over 300 applications from the four emerging markets for the 40 places on the course. Independent local steering committees selected the successful applicants based on a number of fixed criteria. Heidelberg and DEG are also paying the participants’ travel expenses, and before setting off for Germany, they will prepare for their stay with an intercultural orientation seminar.

The PMA’s international training network helps with project planning and organization and provides further local support. In a total of 18 branches around the globe, the printing sector’s leading training establishment offers technical and management staff in the printing and media industry a comprehensive range of training courses specifically tailored to meet the industry’s requirements. Last year alone, PMA training courses in Heidelberg attracted around 2,500 participants.