The South African Institute of Printing: What is it, how does it work?

The GAPP in conversation with the Chair and Vice Chair of the South African Institute of Printing – Mike Bath from Marshall Hinds and Thandi Moyo from the Government Printing Works.

The GAPP: ‘What is the South African Institute of Printing?’

Mike Bath (Chair of SAIP)
‘The South African Institute of Printing or SAIP, is a organisation comprising professionals from the Printing, Packaging and Signage industry who, through their knowledge and expertise in the industry, can contribute to the improvement of the industry on an individual basis. This is not a company body but rather a gathering of like-minded individuals who want to contribute to the industry in their personal capacity.’

The GAPP: ‘Mike, the South African Institute of Printing has been in existence for several decades, why are you reviving it now?’

Mike: ‘Yes it’s true, the South African Institute of Printing has been in existence for over 40 years, during which time we have seen a tidal wave of new technology and challenges confront the Printing, Packaging and Signage industries. 40 years ago the industry was analogue and digital was a dream. There were no wide format or digital printers, no sophisticated workflows, flexo was in its infancy and there was no social media or internet. It was a simpler era!

‘Today we are in very different space and the industry and the people in the industry face many new challenges. It was time to reboot and re-vitalise the institute offering a revised set of ethics, new board and logo, updated ways of earning Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to keep the industry players up-to-date, and to promote professionalism within the industry.’

The GAPP: ‘Thandi, as a woman in what has traditionally been a man’s world, how can the SAIP drive the Print, Packaging and Signage Industries forward to greater heights, equality, quality and ethics?’

Thandi Moyo (Vice Chair of SAIP)
‘The Printing, Packaging and Signage industry is a crucial sector and contributes significantly to the South African GDP. It is a support pillar for every sector. No public or private entity can function and carry out its mandate without the services of this industry. South Africa has been undergoing a transformation process since our dawn of democracy and in the process experiencing a lot of challenges whilst some strides have been recorded. The industry is also male dominated and requires a concerted effort to implement the transformation agenda and ensure that more women and previously disadvantaged groups are given the opportunity to play a central and critical role in growing the sector.

‘Principles of equality, quality and ethics are foundational. There has to be willingness from both the male and female counterparts to work together as equal partners to make a success of the industry whilst at the same time providing quality service to customers.

‘SAIP supports the directive by the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa regarding ethics and conduct. We will always encourage professionals in the Printing, Packaging and Signage industry to conduct themselves in professional and ethical manner. This is a commitment that if any of SAIP’s members conduct themselves to the contrary, SAIP will certainly take corrective action against such conduct.’

The GAPP: ‘There are likely to still be members of the old Institute of Printing, what happens to their membership?’

Thandi: ‘We are encouraging all existing members to take up their membership where they left off. They will be welcomed as members of the new Institute. Past members of SAIP may have allowed their membership with SAIP to have lapsed and we are inviting them to renew – with no penalty for the first 12 months.’

The GAPP: ‘Mike, what are the designations that a Print Professional can apply for?’

‘Currently, Professional Designations include SAIP (PO) for Print Operator, SAIP (PT) for Print Technician, SAIP (PM) for Print Manager, SAIP (PD) for Print Director and SAIP (PDT) for Print Director Technical. These designations are in final throes of accreditation by the South African Qualification Association (SAQA) under the auspices of the Department of Higher Education and Training.’

The GAPP: ’Why should members of the printing, packaging and signage industry join the SAIP? What benefits can they expect to receive/obtain from membership?’

‘As a Member, you would be entitled to letters after your name. Initially this will be SAIP. It will enhance your qualifications, your career, your self esteem, your future job opportunities, your business card and a certificate to hang on the wall.

‘It represents a verification of your qualification, time spent learning and understanding this industry and most importantly your continued learning through the time spent earning CPD points.

‘In addition, with the help of several industry suppliers, we have put together a package of benefits to help members keep abreast of new technologies including discounts to industry events, special subscription options for The GAPP magazine and other benefits.’

‘Let me add, SAIP is a Non-Profit Organisation with board members representing different companies. SAIP does not receive any funding. It will carry out its mandate by leveraging from the membership fees as well as donations and sponsorships. It is therefore, our call to all industry players, members and supporters to partner with the organisation and donate any equipment, material, in-kind contributions which will assist with the operations and facilitate the realisation of the objectives of SAIP.’

The GAPP: ‘Thandi, we understand that members will be required to engage in earning CPD points to ensure that they stay up-to-date with new technology, up skill and improve their knowledge of the industry?’

‘Absolutely. Similar to other professionals, each category of the designations will be required to fulfil certain requirements in order to accumulate points to keep them updated with industry based information and regulatory requirements. This is important as it will ensure that all the industry professionals are compliant with not only the requirements but the ethics and code of conduct.

‘I must point out that membership of the SAIP is open to anyone who is employed in or associated with the printing, packaging and signage industry. As this is a personal membership there is no requirement for the individual to be employed by companies which are members of the industry body. We would actually encourage as many people as possible to join and in so doing to bring their personal experience and expertise for the benefit of the industry as a whole.’

In conclusion, Mike added, ‘The SAIP is inviting Printing Professionals to join, and application forms can be found on the Printing SA website or by e-mailing . We would also like to acknowledge the messages of support received from all around the world for this initiative. It is heartening to know that South Africans are behind us.’