CO-OWNER of a growing Dubbo business Craig Chandler is going back to school with the help of a federal grant.
The businessman's enrolment in the Australian Owner Manager Program at the University of Queensland in 2016 reflects his high hopes for the future of TEAM Irrigation and its ability to generate more jobs.
The grant of more than $11,000 from the Industry Skills Fund (ISF) will also permit the business to step up its digital activity.
Plans are afoot to develop an online service offering diagnostic trouble-shooting video clips, poly pipe welding tutorials and on-site repair and maintenance instructions for customers wanting to be able to recognise the state of equipment and identify potential problems before they occur.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton announced the grant during an informative visit to the Fitzroy Street business this week.
He learned of its intention to establish a regional stocking warehouse in the city in line with becoming one of the first "master dealers" in Australia for international supplier Valley Irrigation.
"Training for the TEAM Irrigation staff will comprise leadership skills, digital literacy and web skills," he said.
"All of these skills will go a long way to helping the business embrace new and innovative digital opportunities."
Since 2003 Mr Chandler and Bob Johnson have been building TEAM Irrigation, an expert in the design, installation and management of agricultural irrigation projects delivering water-saving solutions.
Mr Chandler said the decision to become a master dealer with Valley Irrigation prompted contact with the federal government's Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Program and the ISF.
He said almost two million small-to-medium enterprises formed the "lifeblood of the Australian economy", yet there were limited executive development options to meet the specific needs of working owner managers.
"This training directed at owner managers with their business needs and growth plans in mind is exactly what a small business owner in rural NSW like myself requires," Mr Chandler said.
"Time-poor owner-managers really need training with fellow owner managers in a training environment conducive to our needs and that is why I am really looking forward to the 2016 program."
Mr Coulton is encouraging other Dubbo businesses looking to grow, invest in training or employ a young person to consider applying for a grant from the ISF. Visit www.business.gov.au/industryskillsfund or call 13 28 46.