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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Fawcett-Smith

Eckersley Group Acknowledged for Youth Engagement

Australia caught but a glimpse of Eckersley Group’s youth engagement endeavours when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited their Narangba based business, Print Approach, on January 24.

Participants in the Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) scheme introduced by the government last year, Print Approach owner Tom Eckersley welcomed the Prime Minister and Minister for Employment Michaela Cash to discuss the successful apprenticeship placement of two young, local job seekers, Jarrod Coombe and Jonathon Garrett.

Aimed at giving young job seekers under 25 years of age the employability skills and real work experience they need to get a job, Youth Jobs PaTH boosts young people’s job prospects by helping them be better prepared for the workplace and encouraging business owners like Tom to open the door to them.

“The PaTH program helps bring the young unemployed members of our community into the training and employment sphere of the business,” says Tom.

While Eckersley Group may have made the headlines due to the Prime Minister’s visit, the company has been active in the youth engagement space for many years. For the past six years, Marketing Co-ordinator Kylie Ariss has volunteered her time at Narangba Valley State High School’s annual Narangba Business Week (NBW) Trade Fair.

“Usually I and one of the Account Managers will act as judges,” Kylie says. “It’s pretty amazing to see what the kids come up with in less than a term, and the kids get a kick out of being judged. It’s a fun afternoon.”

The support of Queensland schools extends across the Brisbane River to Brisbane State High School (BSHS). Long-term clients, BSHS requested assistance with the school’s student-run publication ‘The Ink Drop’, and students soon found themselves immersed in Print Approach’s factory floor production line.

Claire Irving, Customer Care, explains, “We’re always keen to offer that service of letting students come in and see exactly how print works. We got the Brisbane State High School students out here on a tour so they could actually see their magazine being printed. They got a real kick out of seeing it go from articles on a screen, through the proofing stage, and out onto the machines; to then walking out with it, boxed up, ready to hand out back at school.”

Imparting print management expertise isn’t Eckersley Group’s only contribution to youth engagement. Every year, thousands of children across Australia receive printed invitations hot off Print Approach’s press inviting them to attend the Variety Special Christmas Children’s Party – an event held for children struggling with serious illnesses, special needs, disabilities, or who suffer from unique challenges in their life.

“We work with Variety annually to get their print sorted and we subsidise it,” explains Kylie. “It’s a good cause, and when you see the pictures from the parties of these families who don’t get much of a break, it’s clear that it’s a special day for the whole family not just the kids who are sick.”

When the Eckersley Group acquired The Printing Office (TPO) in 2016, they not only expanded their sustainable commercial print footprint, but they also inherited patronage of Brisbane’s most successful rugby club - University of Queensland Rugby Football Club (UQRFC).

“TPO sponsored UQRFC, so we took that on when we purchased them,” Kylie says. “We print their weekly programs for the games that are played during season, and the sponsorship also involves going to a few of their events.”

The mantra ‘Great People Great Solutions’ is core to everything Eckersley Group do, and they will continue to apply it to youth employment opportunities.

“Small-to-medium enterprise (SME) businesses employ nine out of ten people in Australia,” says Tom. “We are a huge part of the community.”


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