cancel
Search by IRC, Industry, sector, training package, IRC skills forecast or occupation. search

Printing and Graphic Arts

Overview

This page provides high level information and data on the Printing and Graphic Arts industry, including print manufacturing and communications and epublishing.

The Printing and Graphic Arts industry is centred on the creation of printed product and related media, and may undertake this process on behalf of organisations or individuals. There are many possible specialisations within the industry, including digital printing, screen printing, binding and finishing, multimedia, and graphic pre-press and print production support. Vocational training may be relevant for individuals involved in any of these areas.

There are no VET-related licencing or regulatory requirements in this industry, with companies largely developing and adhering to their own standards. Workers should be aware of issues around copyright and waste disposal if it is relevant to their area of work, and training on these issues is included in many subjects within the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package.

Nationally recognised training for Printing and Graphic Arts is delivered under the ICP - Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package.

For graphic and other design, see Visual Arts, Craft and Design.

Information sourced from the Printing and Graphic Arts IRC Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Overall, employment in the Printing and Graphic Arts industry has fallen between 2000 and 2017, and this trend is predicted to continue to 2022. 2017 did see a slight increase in employment as compared to the preceding five years, but this rise is not expected to continue. This data refers only to those captured under the ANZSIC classification of the Printing industry, and so may not include other elements of the wider Printing and Graphic Arts industry.

Printers make up the largest proportion of this workforce, and are also predicted to have the largest reduction in employment between 2017 and 2022, with employment projected to fall by more than 16%. On the other hand, the next largest occupational group, Graphic and Web Designers, and Illustrators, is expected to undergo employment growth of more than 16% between 2017 and 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package have fallen substantially from just over 3,500 in 2014 to just over 2,000 in 2017. Program completions in this training package experienced a rise in 2015 as compared to the previous year, but fell below 2014 levels in 2016. Subject-only enrolments in this training package are very low, with only 23 subject-only enrolments in 2016.

The majority of program enrolments in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package in 2016 were at the certificate III level. There were over 1,600 enrolments at this level, as compared with 300 enrolments in the next highest qualification level, certificate II.

The individual qualification with the highest enrolments in 2016 was the Certificate III in Printing, followed by the Certificate III in Print Manufacturing. There were few enrolments in the Diploma of Printing and Graphic Arts in 2016. The intended occupation for qualifications in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package varied by individual qualifications, with Printer being the most common intended occupation.

The majority of qualifications in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package were delivered by private training providers in 2016, though the provider type varied by qualification. TAFE institutes delivered the majority of qualifications at the certificate II level and for the Certificate III in Print Communication. The Certificate III in Printing and the Certificate III in Print Manufacturing were mostly delivered by private training providers. The Certificate IV in Printing and Graphic Arts saw a majority of enrolments delivered by enterprise training providers.

Enrolments tended to be Commonwealth and state funded across all provider types, particularly TAFE institutes and enterprise providers, the latter of which saw 100% of subject enrolments funded in this way in 2016.

Victoria had the most students who were enrolled in the Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package in 2016, with more than 37%. New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland recorded the next highest enrolments, with students split relatively equally across these three states.

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions have fallen gradually between 2010 and 2016, with a brief rise in completions during the 2013–15 period. Intended occupations for apprentices and trainees in this industry tend to be Printer or Print Finishers and Screen Printers. Apprentices and trainees in this industry tend to be in New South Wales or Victoria.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region, visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,, Title: Top priority skills,, industry knowledge, career and development planning, creative commercial and critical thinking, collaboration and relationship building, agility and flexibility,, Title: Top generic skills,, design mindset / thinking critically / system thinking / solving problems, learning agility / information literacy / intellectual autonomy and self-management, communication / virtual collaboration / social intelligence, entrepreneurial skills, customer service / marketing,, Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top generic skills in demand,, communication skills, organisational skills, detail oriented, computer skills, teamwork / collaboration,, Title: Top 5 occupations in demand,, printing machinist, screen printer, graphic designer, photographic developer and printer, print finisher,, Title: Top 5 locations,, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia,, Infographic source, Priority skills source: Printing and graphic design  IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Printing and Graphic Arts IRC Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017 the top 5 key skills for the Printing and Graphic Arts industry are:

  • industry knowledge
  • career and development planning
  • creative, commercial and critical thinking
  • collaboration and relationship building
  • agility and flexibility.

Job vacancy data suggests the key skills in demand from employers in the Printing and Graphic Arts industry are:

  • communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • detail orientation
  • computer skills
  • teamwork/collaboration.

The above Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work identified a number of key issues for the Printing and Graphic Arts industry. Employers in this sector identified a need for more resources to be directed to appropriate training, and a shift from employing specialised technical workers to employing workers who are able to move through a number of different roles in the graphic arts and printing process.

One of the most significant changes facing the Printing and Graphic Arts industry, as described by the above Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work, are the technological improvements and changes to the technology involved in the printing process. As a result of this, the sector is under increasing pressure to offer new products and services such as on demand printing or 3D printing. These changes mean workers need training in digital printing and related new technologies in order to enter the field.

The Printing and Graphic Arts Environment Scan 2015 by IBSA identifies many of these trends in technological changes, alongside an increasing focus on services in the Printing and Graphic Arts industry. Businesses are offering a more fully integrated product, with graphic design and printing services presented as one seamless package.  This form of ‘full service solution’ offers printing businesses the opportunity to control more of the supply chain and diversify their product offering. Employees will need skills in a range of related areas under this new model, with business or customer service skills becoming more important.

The FutureNow Printing Industry Snapshot from the Creative and Leisure Industries Training Council suggests work needs to be done around changing negative public perceptions of the Printing and Graphic Arts industry. They indicate a lack of awareness around the day-to-day work of printers, and the broadening scope of the industry mean the Printing and Graphic Arts sector is not seen as an attractive option for students. Strengthening relationships between industry and schools is discussed as one option to alleviate this.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit 16 Printing (including the Reproduction of Recorded Media) Industry, employment projections to May 2022
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations , employment projections to May 2022
    • 3923 Printers
    • 2324 Graphic and Web Designers, and Illustrators
    • 8995 Printing Assistants and Table Workers
    • 3921 Print Finishers and Screen Printers
    • 3922 Graphic Pre-press Trades Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit 16 Printing (including the Reproduction of Recorded Media) Industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – Employment, Income and Unpaid Work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 digit 16 Printing (including the Reproduction of Recorded Media) Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.                                                                                                                                         

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package
  • ICP20115 - Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (General)
    • ICP20210 - Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (Desktop Publishing)
    • ICP20410 - Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (Print Production Support)
  • ICP31215 - Certificate III in Printing
    • ICP30510 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Printing)
    • ICP30512 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Printing)
    • ICP30515 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Printing)
    • ICP30415 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Digital Printing)
    • ICP30612 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Screen Printing)
    • ICP30615 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Screen Printing)
  • ICP31315 - Certificate III in Print Manufacturing
    • ICP30710 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Print Finishing)
    • ICP30712 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Print Finishing)
    • ICP30715 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Print Finishing)
  • ICP31415 - Certificate III in Print Communications
    • ICP30112 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Graphic Design Production)
    • ICP30115 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Graphic Design Production)
    • ICP30210 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Graphic Pre-press)
    • ICP30212 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Graphic Pre-press)
    • ICP30215 - Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts (Graphic Prepress)
  • ICP40115 - Certificate IV in Printing and Graphic Arts
    • ICP40210 - Certificate IV in Printing and Graphic Arts (Multimedia)
    • ICP40110 - Certificate IV in Printing and Graphic Arts (Graphic Pre-press)
  • ICP50115 - Diploma of Printing and Graphic Arts
    • ICP50110 - Diploma of Printing and Graphic Arts (Digital Production) 
    • ICP50210 - Diploma of Printing and Graphic Arts (Multimedia)

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016  program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence.  Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions please refer to the Total VET Activity students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Printing and Graphic Arts Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Work Schedule.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labour insight – real-time labour market information tool <http://www.burning-glass.com>. 2017. 

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top five advertised VET-related occupations (1-6 digit level excluding Sales Workers) in the Printing (including the Reproduction of Recorded Media) industry and the top five locations and employers according to job advertisements.
  • Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass Labor insights tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related occupations in the industry and occupations listed above.