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8.12.2015 10:31:47

ARED UNITING THE PRINT & SIGNAGE SECTOR

ARED (Sign Association of Turkey) President Halil Eligür, shares his vision regarding the sector’s current state, ARED’s activities and his expectations of FESPA Eurasia 2015.
ARED UNITING THE PRINT & SIGNAGE SECTOR

Halil, ARED celebrates it 15th anniversary. Could you evaluate this period for us? What has ARED done to develop the graphics market in Turkey? What activities have you undertaken?

We were founded in 2000, our association was established to bring together Turkey’s printers and sign-makers under one body, to help solve their problems, listen to them and to strengthen the communication between them. Since then we have made a lot of progress in terms of both recognition and activities. We currently have representatives in 30 cities and 260 active members. We of course believe that everybody should be part of this type of sectoral association but I think it’s a matter of awareness, which we continue to build over time. Since our establishment we have organised diverse training and meetings in the main cities for both company owners and workers. One of the most significant activities we have developed in recent years is opening up classes in colleges. We train students in the field of graphics and signage in cooperation with vocational and technical colleges in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. This has been a very useful initiative to improve the quantity of skilled personnel for the sector.

Could you tell us more about ARED’s activities on employment and education?

Supporting educational projects started in 2008 in Istanbul, and we have continued it to colleges in Ankara and Izmir, where we funded a course with FESPA using surplus revenues generated from the FESPA Eurasia exbibition. The number of students trained in these vocational classes varies, but our overall objective was to develop a pool of skilled workforce relevant to our industry to aid print houses and improve the standards of the sector. It has been difficult to achieve as Turkey’s Vocational Competence Institution doesn’t currently recognise jobs specific to our sector. Outdoor advertising involves many disciplines such as printing, carpentry, metalwork, electrics, architecture and more, so we feel it needs to have its own distinction due to the specific skill sets required. We have not been successful in achieving this yet but we are still working on it and hope to make it happen.

Why should a company become an ARED member?

In the overall market, there is a rising number of people entering the printing industry as there are no barriers to entry and people can join the sector with minimal costs, which means any person can buy a machine and set up a print business if they have a modest sum to invest. This situation is not preventable in Turkey or in any country across the world. So a growing industry is not an absolute indicator of success, the important thing is being a qualified, active professional.

So why should you become an ARED member? Success in the industry is reliant on sharing knowledge in changing conditions. It is no longer possible to be scared of competitiors or to try and hide the knowledge you gain. Everyone knows everything these days, we are in a more transparent age compared to years ago. There needs to be collaboration between companies to create productive businesses, and the growth of these companies translates into industry growth. At ARED we foster this sharing and networking, in addition to providing a consultancy service giving legal advice on issues relevant to our industry. We also keep industry news and conversation flowing via our scoial media platforms and online forums, and provide access to human resources information. This year has been challenging for the industry but I’m hopeful of 2016; I think the market will improve and print work will be recovered after this difficult period in 2015. I encourage all sector players to attend FESPA Eurasia 2015, 10-13 December at CNR Expo where they can visit ARED on stand A110 and find out more about becoming a member.

What is the current state of outdoor advertising in Turkey? And what do expect to see in the future?

Outdoor advertising has changed a lot. When it first came to be known, sector workers were perceived as being makers of signage and facades. Now, outdoor advertising is a huge area that embraces not only signage but retail decorations, billboards, public spaces such as transport stations, etc. Turkey has rich knowledge regarding how practical production of outdoor advertising can be achieved within reasonable pricing, and this is thanks to talented producers. We believe that within our region, Turkey will become a production base for outdoor advertising due to rising employment costs in countries such as Estonia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Our misfortune right now is an unstable environment in the countries within this region. We had good trade and recognised production profile from Egypt to Lebanon, throughout North Africa, from East to Caucasus region. We hope that we will reach that again and be able to exploit our geographical advantages again. I am very hopeful and believe Turkey will soon become a prominent country in the near future.

Do you think FESPA Eurasia 2015 will enhance the market? What are your expectations of the third edition of the event?

We have high expectations for the third FESPA Eurasia. The sector is already aware of FESPA, with its international portfolio of events and its ability to attract industry proessionals from across the world. Many suppliers in Turkey have been participating at the FESPA European exhibition for years. The primary purpose of launching an event in Istanbul was to develop a meeting point for people, not only in Turkey, but across the region who can’t necessarily get a visa for EU countries, but now have access to a FESPA show. Istanbul is a significant geographical point, embracing all regions in the axis of Europe, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. Also FESPA is a world-class exhibition organiser with its network of information, educational content at its events and business ethic of its participants. It’s an organisation which delivers focused professionals who attend with a purpose. Following the elections in Turkey, it is the right time in the year to have FESPA Eurasia because people have more clarity about their future. Therefore I think we will attract a good audience, not only from our country but from the surrounding region.

Why should print companies attend FESPA Eurasia?

All companies working in print should attend the exhibition to discover the latest industry innovations. Reading about these launches in magazines and online websites is not the same as seeing it live in action, first-hand at a professional event such as FESPA Eurasia. There you can experience working machines, touch the printed applications and ask questions. It is a chance for professionals to explore new opportunities in the market. The exhibition also enables you to explore various business solutions all in one place, and the chance to network with peers.

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