The array of workshops offered by The Antalis Digital Academy has proved popular since launching last September. Aimed at print service providers and sign makers, these small and large format workshops call upon experts in their fields to teach delegates the latest techniques and applications.
The workshops take place both at the Antalis head office in Leicestershire, and throughout the UK during on-site events. Courses include Colour Management, Sign Making, Vehicle Graphics Application and Vinyl Application.
“Our aim is to add value to our customer’s businesses, and train them in what is often new product or application areas,” says Giles Bristow, Digital Support Manager, Antalis. “We train attendees in a dedicated learning environment that involves expert trainers in their own fields, so that they can go away with skills to undertake new applications and jobs and therefore expand their business.”
Those new to the signage industry can attend an introductory sign makers workshop, while there are more specialist courses available covering the application of different types of vinyl, along with vehicle wrapping. The initial sign makers workshop is proving hugely popular, something Giles attributes to the number of commercial printing ventures that are investing in large format digital equipment, and looking at large format and sign making as ways to develop their businesses. Another popular workshop is aimed at sign makers that use Roland products, called the Roland VersaWorks Advance workshop, and it trains users specifically on these machines.
The courses began running in September 2014, and by the end of July this year, Antalis had run 45 workshops throughout the UK. The team travel anywhere from Devon to Scotland to carry out the workshops, and there are plans in place for a regional academy in Yorkshire in September.
Expanding education for sign makers
In addition to looking at the number ofcourses offered, Antalis are also examining areas of expansion that could be beneficial to sign makers.
“This year, we are looking at offering courses in things like exhibition graphics,and lamination and finishing,” says Giles. Antalis already run a range of workshops on colour management, an area Giles cites as being of growing importance, but they plan to expand further to provide more in-depth training with specific manufactures of RIP software. “Sign makers need to be able to use printers to provide consistent, repeatable colour. If they have to make more than one product that features corporate branding for a client, the colour is going to have to match across all those products perfectly.”
One of the major benefits of the courses offered at The Antalis Digital Academy is the expertise of the instructors. Rather than have one educator across all courses, an expert in the related skill or product oversees each workshop. For example, experienced sign maker and regular figure at Sign & Digital UK Paul Hughes is one such instructor, overseeing the workshops relating to sign making and vinyl application.
According to Giles, another benefit is the low cost of attendance. “Antalis run these courses and only charge a nominal fee, because for us, it’s about improving the relationship with our customer and adding value to their business,” he says. “I have lots of positive feedback from clients where they have been able to take on extra work because they now have the skills to be able to do that, simply by taking a workshop with us.”