In June 2005, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) opened a Print Media Academy in Mexico and in doing so established the tenth site in the global training network. 1,500 guests took part in the opening ceremony in Mexico City.
With a population of around 100 million people, Mexico has approx. 9,000 companies in the printing and publishing sector. Eighty-five percent of these are small businesses, ten percent are midmarket companies and five percent are large enterprises. Almost all printshops bemoan the widespread lack of training for skilled employees. Virtually without exception, all printshop employees are semi-skilled and lack a sound technical knowledge. Appreciation of high quality and the acceptance of responsibility are generally quite limited. "Many companies know that having a workforce with better expertise would enable them to increase productivity and meet higher quality requirements. Giving Mexican printshops the expertise to help them compete with low-wage Asian countries and retain their competitiveness were good enough reasons for us to open a PMA in Mexico," says Bernd Schopp, Head of the PMA worldwide.
The newly opened PMA in Mexico is initially focusing on the "estro" training program. The ancient Greek term "estro" can be translated as "inspiration and passion for the arts". The program aims to give participants the specialist expertise they need and to instigate general cultural change among the participants and within printshops.
The "estro" program is essentially made up of two components - a five-day training session where printers gain the specialist knowledge they need and where the participants concentrate on their role and responsibilities as players in the print production process. The participants' knowledge is then examined during the four-month practical phase by regular audits and support is given on site.
The "estro" program is a joint project between the Print Media Academy and Abraham Romo Garcia. Romo manages Mexico's biggest printshop, where key parts of the training take place. Since the first training began in 2003, 120 participants have already passed the exam and received certificates. "The program's success has direct benefits for our customers' printshops and employees alike. For many printshops, participating in the training has had positive effects not only on quality and productivity, but also on the employees' day-to-day lives," says Shevonne Nass, Head of the PMA in Mexico, giving her first impressions.
At present, additional modules for "estro" are in the pipeline. The PMA Mexico currently employs seven staff. "We chose Mexico as a PMA site because we can serve other Spanish-speaking countries in Central America from here," continues Nass.
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