Treloar’s are lucky enough to have two Karten Centres based at Treloar College. One is known as TreloarPrint and provides a real life working print shop for internal and external customers where students can gain important work experience and learn business skills. Students within the Centre are working towards their City & Guilds NVQ in Business and Administrationqualifications and other students also attend the Centre for work experience placements ensuring a wide range of Treloar’s students benefit. Amelia (pictured) has recently undertaken a work experience placement in TreloarPrint where she has been getting involved in using different software on the computer, printing cards for a customer and learning about the vast paper stock. Work experience opportunities both prepare the students for life beyond Treloar’s at the same time as building their confidence and self-esteem as they put the skills they have learnt into practice.
Gaining future supported employment can be hugely challenging for our students given their complex disabilities. However, we were really pleased to be able to offer Samantha the job of receptionist in TreloarPrint nearly 3 years ago now, after being a student in the Centre some years previously. Samantha (pictured) gained the job on merit and is really flourishing in the role. As well as her job as receptionist Samantha is now mentoring some of the students in the Centre to boost their confidence and communication skills and help them feel more positive about their next steps after Treloar’s. Samantha is just one of many wonderful success stories to come from the TreloarPrint Karten Centre and we have no doubt there will be many more to follow.
The second Karten Centre is called Treloar Enterprise Printing Solutions (TEPS) which provides high quality printing solutions, to business and the local community, on mediums such as china, textiles and paper. We were delighted to be awarded funding from the Karten Network in 2020 to purchase new direct to garment and wide format printer and a replacement sublimation printer.
The direct to garment printer (DTG) has been a revolution. DTG printing is the process of using a modified inkjet printer to apply digital designs directly to fabric. As opposed to using sublimation paper and inks to transfer prints onto materials. The sublimation process is much more labour intensive and the majority of the work cannot be undertaken by our students due to the nature of the equipment and the risks involved with the high temperatures of the heat press and the difficulties operating the heat press itself. Although the DTG printing process still involves heat pressing the rest of the process can be done by our students. The excellent software enables them to make edits to images, line them up correctly on the garment that they are printing to and then start the printing process. The only help required at this point is to place the garment/fabric onto the printer platen. Enabling students to be a part of the actual printing process, encouraging and enabling them to use their IT skills is such a step forward. As we move further out of COVID-19 restrictions more of our TEPs students will be able to take part in the production side of things. One of our students is going to be starting work experience in September and he will be assisting with DTG printing, which he is delighted about as are we.
Our biggest order to date has been to produce 120 prints onto canvas bags for our outdoor learning centre. There was a design competition and the three winning designs were then printed. The runner up design of a hedgehog has proved most popular with staff and visitors and we are still taking requests for these. Again the beauty of the DTG printer and software is it is as easy to run off one design or a 100, which means even small orders can be turned around really quickly. The quality of the print is superb and needless to say all students and customers are delighted.
The Canon Photo printer again has not been utilised as much as we would have hoped due to COVID-19 however since the start of the summer term we have been up and running again, producing prints for staff and teachers. To date, it has been used to produce our students Silver Arts award photos and large scale Beebot Mats and Board games that are used to support the curriculum. The graphics and print quality is absolutely outstanding so we know that once we are printing for customers they too will be as delighted with the results.
Once again the ease of use means that some of our students are able, with minimal support to change the paper roll, and to get designs printing. The old printer was inaccessible due to the height of the machine, and complexity of loading paper. With its self-feed all that is required is a little help from a member of staff to assist the student loading the roll into the machine, the rest of the set up process can be controlled by the students. The wide range of materials that we purchased as part of the funding mean that we are able to offer a wider variety of products from large scale banner, all weather prints to adhesive backed posters. We are looking forward to getting production back up and running to pre COVID-19 levels and beyond.
Once again we are so grateful to the Karten Network for supporting Treloar’s with funding to enable our students to gain transferable skills and knowledge that will enable them to make an easier transition into the world of work in their life beyond Treloar’s.
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