New Small Business Strategy puts focus on skilled workforce

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government’s new Small Business Strategy will focus on giving small business operators, jobseekers and workers the right skills and the right support to meet the needs of the Queensland’s small business sector.

The Strategy, which was created following direct feedback during an extensive Small Business Roadshow earlier this year, also includes plans for a Workforce Summit to help tackle state-wide labour shortages head on.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy is designed to build a small business sector that helps drive economic recovery and employment across Queensland.

“A key part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan is backing small business, and the Palaszczuk Government is standing right behind our small business sector with this Strategy. It is focussed on supporting small businesses to not only survive the impacts of the pandemic, but to thrive,” Minister Farmer said.

“The number one issue raised with me by small business operators and industry bodies is around recruiting and retaining workers, including those with the right skills.

“That’s why later this year we will hold a Workforce Summit to bring together industry and business leaders, major employers and training providers to identify strategies and partnerships to assist industry to access the workforce they need.

“There will also be a number of related events in the lead up to the Summit.

“We all know that COVID has changed everything, and we all need to work together to navigate the new economic landscape. We really do need to think in a way we’ve never thought before.”

Minister Farmer said the Workforce Summit will build on the successful 2018 Future of Work – Skills and Industry Summit, which informed the Queensland Skills Strategy released in August 2019.

“This strategy resulted in the implementation of several innovative training programs including free apprenticeships for under 21s and pilot programs in higher-level skills and apprenticeships.

“It also saw our highly successful Gateway to Industry Schools program expand from six to ten industries including screen and media, ICT, health and community services.

“It led to the creation of Regional Jobs Committees in Townsville, Mackay, Fraser Coast, Springfield, Toowoomba and Redlands who have worked closely with local stakeholders to identify local skills and workforce needs and link them to opportunities.

“It’s now time to bring together stakeholders and identify what we need to do next.”

The Big Plans for Small Business Strategy also maps out how $140 million of support -announced as part of the December 2020 State Budget – will be delivered over two years.

“It includes a $100 million Business Investment Fund, $30 million in grants to increase skills and capability, and will make the Queensland Small Business Commissioner a permanent position.

“We are also launching the Business Health Check. By working through an online questionnaire, the health check provides each business with a personalised report and resources to help them address potential blind spots.

“Our plans are a direct result of the clear, unambiguous feedback I received after speaking with thousands of businesses face to face during the Small Business Roadshow earlier this year.

“In the next few months we will also be putting out an EOI for small businesses to join the Queensland Small Business Advisory Council, to ensure that small businesses remain at the heart of our policy development.

“The Palaszczuk Government has listened, and now we are delivering.

“I am looking forward to building on this work to make Queensland the best place to be for small business.”

Informing the Summit will be the findings of a new Jobs Queensland report Future work for small business: Skills, capabilities and potential which outlines the importance of skills and capability development to support small business growth in Queensland.

The report identifies six areas which are fundamental to small business success including finance, human resources, marketing, leadership and management, and digital and data skills, as well as skills specific to the business and its operations.

To access the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy visit www.desbt.qld.gov.au/smallbusinessstrategy

To access the Business Health Check visit www.business.qld.gov.au/healthcheck

To access the Jobs Queensland report visit www.jobsqueensland.qld.gov.au

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.