Getting a handle on IPSA

The Institute of Packaging SA (IPSA) was formed in 1970 with the aim to promote high standards and professionalism in the packaging industry by providing opportunities for networking and education.

Regular regional meetings include workshops, seminars, factory visits and social events. Excellence in packaging is recognised by the IPSA Gold Pack Awards. The Student Gold Pack awards are used as an educational tool and to promote packaging as a career amongst students of different disciplines.

IPSA offers a formal three-tier education programme to those wishing to advance their careers and to enhance their skills in the industry. These courses are offered in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

The ‘Introduction to Packaging Technology’ short course, the worldrenowned ‘One Year Diploma in Packaging Technology’ and the highly respected ‘Advanced Packaging Diploma’. The ‘IPSA Handbook of Packaging Technology’ is the study textbook and a handy reference for packaging professionals.

Membership of the institute is open to any individuals engaged in packaging or packagingrelated industries or careers. The Packaging Technology (OPT) Short Course The Institute of Packaging SA has identified a need to meet industry’s requirements for a basic level course in ‘Packaging’. The course is devised at a starter level for those employed in the packaging and related industries.

It seeks to address South Africa’s need for skilled employees in this sector, where a basic broad knowledge of packaging, its principles and materials is lacking. This course is aimed at those students who are new to the packaging field and who have little or no previous knowledge of packaging as well as those seeking to broaden their knowledge across the vast variety of technologies involved in packaging.

The course takes a training approach with a significant practical content during class sessions. At the conclusion of the course the students should have a good overview understanding of the technologies of packaging, and the materials and processes involved in the industry.

This will equip them not only to contribute more meaningfully in their employment, but also prepare them for their next academic step, which would be to study the Institute’s One Year Diploma in Packaging Technology. Students should have at least a matriculation certificate and an adequate proficiency in the English Language, enabling them to grasp explanations of a moderately technical nature.

The course runs for a minimum of 27 lecture hours, comprising 12 lectures of either two or sometimes three hours duration. The One Year Diploma in Packaging Technology (OYD) This part-time course is widely supported and recognised by the packaging industry in South Africa and is accredited by the World Packaging Organisation, and by the IOP: Packaging Society (UK) as well as the Australian Institute of Packaging.

The course begins by reviewing the major business aspects that the packaging specialist requires to be conversant with, from economics to marketing. The course majors on the technical aspects of packaging covering the essentials of protection and preservation for a wide variety of consumer and industrial goods, from the factory to the final consumer, in particular the requirements of foodstuffs, pharmaceutical and industrial goods.

Other pertinent aspects addressed are graphic design, printing processes, environmental aspects, legal aspects, specifications and materials handling. The OYD is a valuable qualification for people in many packaging related careers such as sales, marketing, design, technical, production, quality control, R&D, buyers, warehouse managers and logistics managers. It is popularly attended by both packaging converters and users of packaging, including retailers.

The course duration is about 10 months, February to November, with usually one or two sessions (lectures) per week. It includes a practical component, which each student is required to research and report on. The OYD is bench marked against similar first level ‘packaging’ courses offered in Britain, USA, and Australasia and is equivalent in standard to the first year of a degree in packaging.

The Advanced Packaging Diploma (APD) The course has been developed to prepare the packaging professional for a management level position in the industry, by offering a better understanding of elements of supply chain management of a business, at a higher level than does the Institute’s One year Diploma Course in Packaging Technology.

The course comprises varied modules each of which is lead and presented by subject facilitators who are experts drawn form the industry who are qualified in their specialist fields. Participants will be required to do research (individually or in teams) and thereby gain an in-depth knowledge of the subjects covered in this course, as it progresses The eligibility requirement is the successful completion of the One Year Diploma in Packaging Technology or an equivalent level packaging qualification.

On occasion candidates will be accepted with proven necessary experience in the industry. The APD comprises an estimated 60 hours of class time over four months as well as practical business assignment and proposal assessment presentation Normally, two-hour lectures are be held twice weekly in the late afternoon or evenings to facilitate attendance.