Visual Connections Australia

Sign & Print Career Connections Launched Today


The Sign & Print Career Connections program, an industry-wide initiative to attract new talent to the print, sign and wider graphics sector, officially kicked off at the Victorian Careers & Employment Expo in Melbourne this morning.

The initiative is led by supplier association Visual Connections in partnership with the Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA), FESPA Australia, the Flexible Packaging & Label Manufacturers’ Association (FPLMA), the LIA and the Visual Media Association (VMA), in a genuine ‘whole of industry’ approach.

More than 8,000 students, their parents, teachers and careers counsellors are set to attend the Melbourne expo today and Friday, with another 4,000 members of the general public expected to come through the doors on Saturday.  They will be the first to see the new Sign & Print Career Connections bold and eye-catching stand, produced with the generous support of VMA and their partners at IVE Group, which was unveiled this morning at Site 86. 

On hand to provide careers advice over the next three days are Tina Mavris and John Watters from Australian Schools Industry Partnership (AusSIP) who have worked with Visual Connections and pioneering partner ASGA for close to a decade to develop and refine the program, as well as TAFE experts and current apprentices from Victoria University Polytechnic, and a number of industry professionals who will help give visiting students a ‘real world’ perspective on industry careers.

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Sarah Moore, General Manager of Visual Connections, says the new program encourages students to explore industry careers and, more importantly, connects them to the information, resources and opportunities they need to get involved.

“Despite the fact that print, signage and graphics is probably one of the world’s most visible industries, we are well aware that it often goes unnoticed,” Sarah says. “Certainly, it’s not the first option to spring to mind when young people are thinking about trades, so we wanted to change that with this innovative program.

The Sign & Print Career Connections program has been developed precisely for the expo’s target market - Years 9 to 12 students, predominantly, as they start to explore ideas for their future careers. Piloted over the past few years with ASGA, it has seen enrolments in the Cert III for Sign & Graphics more than triple since 2015, and Moore says organisers are confident we will see that success mirrored across the industry.

“We know that once students are exposed to the huge array of products our industry produces, they are absolutely blown away. We see it every time we host student groups at PacPrint or Visual Impact shows,” Sarah says.

“Bringing this same kind of display to Careers Expos allows us to expose a much wider audience to the excitement and diversity of our sector – and to really get them thinking about how their creativity, technical talents, practical skills and problem-solving aptitude can be applied to an almost endless range of opportunities in print, sign and graphics.

“Doors only opened a couple of hours ago and already our team has been inundated,” she reports. “In particular, the ‘Try-A-Trade’ experiences supported by Pozitive Sign & Graphics Supplies and VU Polytechnic are proving exceptionally popular.”

Try-A-Trade, which will be familiar to many who have attended past Visual Impact and PacPrint exhibitions, give students the opportunity to try their hand at print and graphics activities like fabric printing, vinyl cutting and weeding, engraving and vinyl wrapping.

Tina Mavris from AusSIP says there are plenty of options on stand in Melbourne.

“We have a Bflex and heat press on stand, allowing students to transfer an image of their choice onto a tote bag, and a small Summa cutter which they can use to shape-cut pre-printed skateboard-style stickers,” she explains. 

“There’s also a spindle engraver they can use to put their name onto keyring tags, and we have a line a mile long to try vinyl wrapping on a motorbike fuel tank!”

Generating interest is one thing – but connecting students with the information, training options and employment opportunities they need to pursue that interest is vital, and Visual Connections has invested significant time and resources to provide a ‘one-stop’ resource to help join the dots.

“Navigating the training landscape can be really challenging for students, and very few careers advisors in schools are familiar enough with our industry to be much help to those who are interested,” Tina acknowledges.

“To support the in-person experience, we’re handing out a new, 20-page booklet outlining career opportunities across the sector, and we’ve also launched an online resource, hosted by Visual Connections, to allow students to access information on industry careers and relevant events, and to search for courses, training options and career opportunities.”

The Sign & Print Career Connections program is made possible with the generous support of industry sponsors, including major sponsors Amari Visual Solutions, Ball & Doggett, Cactus Imaging, Fujifilm Graphic Systems, Graphic Art Mart, Mulford Australia, ORAFOL, Pozitive Sign & Graphics Supplies and Sign-a-Rama, and partnering sponsors Böttcher, FPLMA, Hero Print,  MacDirmid Graphic Solutions and Spicers.

The Victorian Careers & Employment Expo is completely free to attend, and runs from 9am – 3pm today and tomorrow, and from 9am to 4pm on Saturday. Click here to register for the Careers Expo. Download the Sign & Print Career Connections brochure here, or find out more about the program at