Since 2005 the PIABC in the UK, who are the approved qualification regulator for the Diploma in Packaging Technology and the Certificate in Packaging, has annually awarded best students in the courses. The Best Student Award is given to the candidate with the best overall marks for the Diploma in Packaging Technology and since 2013 the PIABC have also been recognising the student with the best Diploma in Packaging Technology project. This year two Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) Members have been recognised for their outstanding results in the Diploma in Packaging Technology.
Alysha Baggett Dip.Pkg.Tech. MAIP, Senior Packaging Technologist, Global Packaging Support Team, Suntory Monozukuri Expert Ltd in Japan was awarded the Best Student Award for 2018/19 and Alexandra Brayshaw Dip.Pkg.Tech. MAIP, Senior Technical & Design Lead, Arthritis Australia’s Accessible Design Division was awarded Best Packaging Related Research Project 2018/19 for ‘Understanding the consumer’s experience of difficult-to-open packaging and the factors contributing to these negative experiences, especially for the ageing population’.
The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), who have been providing both qualifications exclusively in Australasia for the last forty years, sat down with both award winners to find out what the Diploma in Packaging Technology means to them…
What is your current role and areas of responsibility?
Alysha: I am currently a Senior Packaging Technologist in the Global Packaging Support Team for Suntory Monozukuri Expert Ltd in Japan (on assignment from Frucor Suntory, NZ). My current role involves OEE line improvement, new line (Aseptic PET) commissioning support, and project work with a focus on sustainability for our global group companies. From a commissioning point of view this involves blow moulder recipe development and support, check-sheet development and training for our group companies. From a sustainability project point of view, especially with the new EU laws that are coming in to play there is a lot of work around rPET sourcing and new technology transfer from Japan to other regions and work around tethered caps to ensure fit for purpose with our product portfolio and consumer needs.
Alexandra: My current role is the Senior Technical & Design Lead, in Arthritis Australia’s Accessible Design Division. My role is to educate and provide decision making tools to industry and government at a design and procurement level to understand the consumer experience of products and packaging. I also coordinate the newly formed Accessible Design Alliance, which is formed from not-for-profit consumer health organisations that represent people with chronic conditions who are significantly impacted by inaccessible products and packaging. This role is varied but rewarding as I work to assist the packaging industry with developing packaging that all consumers can easily open, including consumers with reduce strength and dexterity. I enjoy working with clients to find the right kind of service to assist their redevelopment process, as well as being involved in the testing process.
Why did you undertake the Diploma in Packaging Technology?
Alexandra: I undertook this qualification to further inform my work to develop accessible packaging as part of Arthritis Australia’s Accessible Design Division. Accessible Design is about understanding the consumers experience of packaging, including those with dexterity and hand strength issues such as the arthritis community and ageing population. I had studied Industrial Design at University, which included subjects on packaging design and manufacturing, but I knew the more detailed knowledge I gained from the Diploma would inform my work with companies to create practical packaging solutions that meet both the consumer needs and manufacturing line capabilities.
What does graduating from the Diploma in Packaging Technology mean to you?
Alysha: Attaining the Diploma in Packaging Technology has allowed me to develop a solid foundation, increasing my knowledge base across a broad range of packaging materials and processes, above and beyond my expertise in beverage packaging. This has been invaluable not only within my current role; giving me the confidence in challenging suppliers and the status quo, tackling issues and innovating, but also moving forward in my packaging career. Additionally, I feel it shows my dedication to furthering my career in packaging.
Alexandra: I found that studying while working full-time had its challenges sometimes, but achieving good results and graduating has been particularly rewarding. The course has also given me greater confidence in my work and assisted me in achieving better outcomes with our clients.
How will you apply this knowledge moving forward?
Alysha: Packaging is a valuable resource; however, it also has a large effect on a product lifecycle. It is the first point of contact for the consumer and is therefore extremely visible not only in purchase and consumption, but also post consumption, where the resource of the package is still valuable. With the ability to effectively design for the conditions and requirements of the supply chain, especially from a sustainability point of view more important than ever, I plan to use the knowledge gained, to deliver innovative packaging, maximising its function throughout its lifecycle, whilst keeping both the environment and consumer in mind.
Alexandra: The Diploma in Packaging Technology has given me both a broader understanding of the industry as a whole and a deeper knowledge of a number of key topics. It has been particularly satisfying applying what I have learnt to my work to improve packaging accessibility and I know it will continue to inform many aspects of my role.
What do you believe the qualification will help you achieve in your career in the future?
Alysha: The qualification has allowed me to develop a solid foundation, increasing my knowledge base across a broad range of packaging materials and processes, above and beyond my expertise in beverage packaging, whilst reinforcing my interest and potential direction in sustainability. In furthering my career, it has given me the confidence to apply my knowledge not only within my current field, but beyond, and gives me the credentials for furthering my career whether that’s within the packaging industry or an affiliated field. I feel it shows my dedication to furthering my career in packaging, allowing me to better deliver projects that meet the business, environmental and consumer needs, whilst being highly respected in my chosen field across any business.
So where to from here for your career?
Alysha: I currently have at least another 6 months on my contract in Japan, so for the meantime I will be focussing on our European business support across OEE line improvements and new line installations. With packaging and sustainability at the forefront of industry and consumers minds, this is one area I am passionate about expanding my expertise, while contributing to ‘better packaging’ around the world.
Alexandra: After completing the Diploma I feel I have a strong packaging foundation to build my career from and that the opportunities are endless. For now, I want to continue applying the knowledge I have gained to my accessibility field and help industry make further improvements in the area. The Diploma in Packaging Technology has given me both a broader understanding of the industry as a whole and a deeper knowledge of a number of key topics. It has been particularly satisfying applying what I have learnt to my work to improve packaging accessibility. I know the knowledge I gained will continue to inform many aspects of my role, as well as provide me with greater opportunities and flexibility to work in the packaging industry in the future.
Do you have any advice on why other people should complete the Diploma in Packaging Technology?
Alysha: Especially within the Australia/New Zealand marketplace professionals that hold formal packaging qualifications are few, with on the job training and supplier expertise heavily relied on. For those passionate about a career in packaging, or for those wishing to gain a broader understanding of how packaging can influence their role within the supply chain, the Diploma in Packaging Technology provides a solid basis for the underlying packaging principles and processes, which I believe is fundamental to being an effective Packaging Technologist. Overall, it has boosted my confidence across a broad range of material substrates and processes allowing me to better deliver projects that meet the business, environmental and consumer needs. I would recommend that everyone contacts the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) to discuss their professional packaging needs.
Alexandra: I think when you are beginning your career, it is important to try and gain as much knowledge as possible of the industry as a whole. This might include aspects that are broader than your current role, but it will allow you to see how your position fits in the bigger picture. The packaging industry is also constantly evolving with new technologies and trends, so I think it is vital that the fundamentals of packaging are understood, and the Diploma in Packaging Technology can provide this knowledge set.
Please join the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) in congratulating both Alysha Baggett and Alexandra Brayshaw on their outstanding efforts and the Institute wishes them well for the next stage of their packaging careers. Please contact the AIP if you would like more information on the Diploma in Packaging Technology