Voucher training scheme rocks on
13 September 2016, Andrew Ashton, The Gisborne Herald
Gisborne Regional Business Partner scheme has $75,000 funding to help businesses expand or upskill staff.
THE Regional Business Partner scheme in Gisborne still has $75,000 worth of funding available to help businesses here expand or upskill staff so they can play more than just one tune.
Activate Tairawhiti business growth adviser and Regional Business Partner Pete Jarratt says NZTE’s Capability Development Voucher Scheme can pay for up to 50 percent of company training costs, and is open to all businesses from one-man bands and sole-traders, to thriving small-to-medium enterprises.
“This could be a few hundred dollars up to a maximum of $5000 per funding envelope. It can also be for as little as $10 or $20 towards a low-cost workshop or similar, if done by an accredited provider.”
Music tutor Ricky Boyd, who employs four part-time staff each week, is one of the smallest operations to benefit. The scheme helped him implement a health and safety strategy with the aid of ThinkSafe New Zealand.
“Previous to meeting ThinkSafe NZ, The Band School had a scattered and informal approach to health and safety, relying on common sense and advice rather than a formal plan,” Mr Boyd says.
The Band School had wanted to have a more pro-active approach to health and safety after moving into its own building last year.
“We had approached the government via websites and e-mails but had a very confusing set of replies and forms which had sat in my ‘to-do’ list. We had also been talking to similar small businesses in the region about how they went about implementing a comprehensive approach, and that sparked a meeting with Pete Jarratt from Activate Tairawhiti.
“He mentioned the work ThinkSafe NZ was doing to simplify and guide businesses through health and safety procedures. It sounded too good to be true as this fitted what we needed.
“Pete then instigated meetings, introduced us to the Regional Business Partner Network and the voucher system process. The voucher for ThinkSafe allowed our small business to proactively manage risks and implement our health and safety system, and now we feel confident and ready for anything ahead.
“I think had it not been for the help of Activate Tairawhiti, Regional Business Partner Network and ThinkSafe NZ, my health and safety plan would still be in my ‘to-do’ box.”
Local electricians Electrinet also had help upskilling in the health and safety arena through the same scheme.
Electrinet health and safety, human resources and marketing manager Bridgette Penny says to-date the scheme has allowed the company access to two $5000 vouchers, which were put towards a National Certificate in Business — First Line Management (Level 4) programme for both present and up-and-coming supervisors.
“We were in control of dates and times that suited our environment. We put through eight employees . . . who got to do the qualification as a team, which always produces good results.
“What this has achieved for us is it created an opportunity that we were in a position to provide a benefit to both ourselves and of course the individual who will have a nationally-recognised qualification, with the end result of our customers getting a greater product.
“I would highly recommend the scheme. If the company qualifies, why wouldn’t you do it?”
Ms Penny says Electrinet has received “fantastic” help from the region’s business growth advisers and Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Jarratt says the scheme continues to grow in popularity.
“We have $75,000 left to allocate by March 2017 and this will be done on a first come, first served basis for eligible companies.
“Capability training is just what it says. It improves the capability of your workforce in a specific area or areas, by teaching them the skills to help your business take the next step.
“If you have aspirations to grow your business you might be eligible for an NZTE Capability Development Voucher, which is offered through the Regional Business Partners at Activate Tairawhiti. From sole traders through to limited companies, there may be capability training for you.”
The scheme covers business planning, business systems, business sustainability, capital raising, export, finance, governance, lean manufacturing/ business operations, managing resources and marketing.
Businesses can register at www.regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz, or by emailling firstname.lastname@example.org