Institute of Packaging Focus on Education

If the measure of success of an industry is in the education and training offered to the people who make their living from that industry, then the packaging industry in South Africa is highly successful. Industry-based education is a central focal point of the Institute of Packaging. The Institute of Packaging (IPSA) recently held its annual general meeting at the newly rebuilt Inanda Club in Johannesburg. The Institute has been in existence for 44 years and continues to dedicate much of its resource and time to the educational aspect. The AGM was opened by Chairman, Kishan Naidoo, who went through the agenda smoothly and deftly. In referring to the Educational Portfolio, Naidoo commented that the Institute is experiencing an encouraging level of growth with a total of 215 students registered for the One Year Diploma presented by the Institute. The number of students has grown each year since the Diploma Course was launched in 2007. The course is recognised by the World Packaging Organisation and therefore, has international standing. He added that the IPSA Handbook of Packaging Technology is internationally rated as one of the top handbooks on packaging in the world. To ensure that it remains relevant, it is updated every two years. In addition to the one year diploma course, the Institute of Packaging also presents the Advanced Packaging Diploma for those who want to further their studies in packaging-related fields. The Advanced Diploma was launched in KwaZulu-Natal in 2012 with 12 students enrolled. The second staging took place in 2013 in Gauteng with 13 students enrolled and this year the Advanced Diploma will be held in the Western Cape. A maximum of 20 students can register for this course because of the intense interaction required between the lecturers and students. The course will commence in early June. The aim is also to have this course recognised by the World Packaging Organisation. In response to numerous requests from the industry, IPSA is now looking at the feasibility of offering an In troduction to Packaging Technology course for those who have recently entered the packaging industry or for those looking to enter the industry. The course, which is now in the planning stages, will be a three to six-month course and will offer a practical approach to packaging technology. It will be designed as an introductory course to the one year diploma. Staying with education, the next item on the agenda was the Student Gold Pack Awards. This year a total of 750 students from around the country will enter the competition. The winners from the three categories are automatically entered into the Student World Star Awards. However, due to the timing of the 2014 Student Gold Pack Awards and the World Star awards, this year’s winners will miss the World Star Awards. However, their entries will be held over and entered into the 2015 competition. The Student Gold Pack Awards will coincide with the Propak Cape exhibition in October. The awards ceremony will take place on 23 October. The Institute took the opportunity of the AGM to recognise the efforts and dedication of two people who have given, and continue to give, tirelessly of their time and expertise to further the educational aims of the Institute. Roger Cary-Smith and Vanessa von Holdt were both named ‘Fellow of the Institute of Packaging’ in recognition of their work on the educational front. Although a large portion of the efforts of the Institute are focused on Education, that is not its only area of activity. Membership of the Institute is currently in the region of 850 people around the country. The aim is to grow this number to almost 900 by 2015. Added to this, the involvement that IPSA has had with the formation of the African Packaging Organisation with the aim of helping to grow and promote the packaging industry in the rest of Africa. The organisation currently comprises member companies from six countries on the African continent. Not only has IPSA helped to establish the Africa Organisation but it has also helped with the creation of the AfriStar packaging awards. The entries will close in June and the awards will take place at the East Afripak exhibition in Kenya in September. The AfriStar awards will run in non-Gold Pack years. The Institute of Packaging is more than an industry organisation, it is a collection of like-minded and passionate people with the best interests of the packaging industry at heart. It is this dedication and passion which makes it so successful and drives its efforts to improve the level of knowledge and skills. The lecturers and organisers of the courses are all volunteers which gives the sacrifices they make even more weight. For more information on the Institute of Packaging or the courses offered visit the website www.ipsa.org.za Kishan Singh – Chairman of the Institute of Packaging (South Africa)