Esko shares expertise and knowledge with international Honours Class

Esko reports on a highly successful edition of the recently organised Honours Class in Flexible Packaging. This Honours Class is organised in co-operation with the Artevelde University College Ghent. The unique Honours Class provides the school’s education program with a complementary in-depth course on Flexible Packaging Prepress. The 2015 Honours Class thrived on last year’s two weeks Summer Class, but was now formalized with credits and widened to include international partners of Artevelde University College. The Honours Class is from this year on an official free of choice add-on program worth 13 credits supplementary to the 180 credits of the bachelor degree Graphic and Digital Media of the Artevelde University College in Ghent. Also new for this year’s session was the participation of international students, with nine attendees from Canada, Finland and Slovenia, next to nine Artevelde students. All of these third-year students enjoyed both a theoretical and practical education that included real-life situations, allowing them to experience the complete packaging development process from design concept to ready-to-print flexo plates. There were also visits to flexible packaging printer Segers & Belcaen, folding carton packaging printer Du Caju and flexo service provider Athena Graphics. Jan De Roeck, director of Solutions Management at Esko, said the course was a great success, commenting, ‘We know that the students of Artevelde University College have a very good educational and technical foundation due to the high quality of the lectures. We are very excited to add our industry expertise to this high quality education program.’ The initiative is another example of Esko’s long-term commitment to supporting schools and students as part of its mission to ‘educate to innovate’. This is accomplished by providing software and hardware solutions and through hands-on training at a variety of educational institutions worldwide, including Artevelde. De Roeck added, ‘While a broad and basic training is provided by the institutions, our insights into the latest innovations and practical experience in the field of packaging, signs and POS displays help develop a more business-ready understanding for students. We continuously research the market and develop solutions that address key challenges and consider it vital that we invest in ensuring that our knowledge is passed on to emerging industry talent. This Honours Class ticks all the boxes.’ ‘Last year’s Summer Class was so successful that we decided to expand the 2015 Honours Class to other partnering universities with similar bachelor degrees,’ stated Luc Berth, lecturer in prepress and workflow techniques at Artevelde University College. ‘There have been a lot of technological developments over the last years, and technology keeps evolving. It was great to see students are really fast learners. They adapted easily, and if something didn’t work out, they tried something different. This great practical experience prepares them well for entry into the work force. ‘The Honours Class consists not only of the two weeks at the premises of Esko but also of personal work to be done beforehand and after,’ Berth continued. ‘In the months beforehand students had to do preparatory work. This consisted of a reflection on the cultural impact of packaging towards global religions and regions. They reviewed different product packages and linked them to the Esko solutions, and personalized an existing flexible packaging design. Through this design, theory and practical execution got linked during the two weeks at Esko.’ Berth added, ‘We observed interesting differences between the Belgian and International participants. The Canadian students were very technical. Esko software is embedded in some of their courses which gave them a head start in the practical sessions. On the other hand the international students were impressed with the company visits, something our Belgian students regularly do as part of their curriculum.’ ‘It was a great international event,’ concluded De Roeck. ‘The Honours Class is an eye opener as it gives the students the opportunity to develop new skills and to get to know the company better. It is a stepping stone towards a professional career. Everyone benefits! Students enjoy the unique experience and it presents job opportunities; Esko is able to share knowledge with future employees; and Artevelde enjoys the exchange of knowledge and expertise, expanding the value of its programs.’