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Esko (www.esko.com) is proud to have hosted the Flexible Packaging Honours Class, an initiative of the Graphical and Digital Media department of the Artevelde University College Ghent. Intended for ambitious and talented students at the top of their university class, this two-week program focuses on the production of flexible packaging, including design, prepress, file handling and plate making operations. The 3rd edition of this course took place from June 19th until June 30th, at Esko’s headquarter offices in Ghent, Belgium.

Jan De Roeck, Director Solutions Management at Esko explains: “The flexible packaging market is a continuously growing segment in the graphic arts industry. We are honored to support educational institutes by facilitating comprehensive flexo prepress and platemaking training programs. As leaders in the packaging industry, our investment in education will help promote the future of flexible packaging, create enthusiasm and passion for the industry, and give young graduates an increased opportunity to find jobs as they begin their professional careers.”

A practical, hands-on agenda

The Honours Class enriches the formal university education with flexible packaging prepress skills and knowledge. Using Esko Software Platform, students get intimately acquainted with each step of the workflow, including:

  • Design and artwork creation
  • Virtual 3D prototyping
  • Prepress workflow automation, color management and proofing
  • Supply chain collaboration, reviewing and approvals
  • Flexo plate making
  • Digital cutting of mock-ups

The training program is complemented by three Esko customer visits to demonstrate the reality of production. The 2017 Class had the opportunity to visit a label, shrinksleeve and small format flexible packaging converter (St-Luc labels&packaging in Nazareth), a wide format flexible packaging converter (Segers & Balcaen in Liedekerke), and a flexible packaging service provider and tradeshop (Athena Graphics in Roeselare).

At the end of the training, students receive a certificate of participation, a valuable advantage when applying for a job in this sector. In some countries, students can also receive training credits by attending the Honours Class.

An international experience

The Arteveldehogeschool has opened the Honours Class to its educational partners from abroad, bringing peer-to-peer learning and exchange of best practices to an international level. The 2017 Class had the pleasure of welcoming students from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, Linköping University in Sweden, and both Seneca College and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

Students in the academic year prior to graduation are welcome to apply for one of the 20 Honours Class seats. To be accepted, students must have a mastery of Adobe® Creative Suite applications and a general understanding of prepress production steps, processes, and functions. Students who are approved for the program will be invited to complete and submit preparatory work in order to fully prepare for the program.

Luc Berth, lector at the Arteveldehogeschool and mentor of the Honours Class concludes: “The Honours Class 2017 has ticked all the boxes: the students have deepened competences relevant for a competitive and rewarding career in the packaging industry. They learned how to cooperate in an international context and have exchanged knowledge and best practices in an open and friendly atmosphere. The Honours Class is a great platform for both technical as well as cultural and social experience-based learning for our young and ambitious students.”