Illawarra On-site Best Practice Seminar
|About this Item||Subjects||Conferences, Summits etc; Small Business; Technology
||Speakers||Hay Ms Noreen
||Business||Private Members Statements
Ms NOREEN HAY (Wollongong) [8.37 p.m.]: I recently had the honour of representing the Minister for Small Business, David Campbell, in opening the inaugural Illawarra on-site best practice seminar. These on-site seminars are organised for the New South Wales Government by the Department of State and Regional Development. This seminar was held at BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla. Training across the board is extremely important, particularly in an area such as Wollongong, which I represent. The essential thing about these seminars, which offer additional training and assistance, is that they give businesses the opportunity to grow. Businesses that grow, develop and do well invariably employ more people. Anything the New South Wales Government can do to help business, particularly in Wollongong, assists those businesses to get over any obstacles they may face and improves employment opportunities for the people of the Illawarra.
The intention of these seminars is to give business owners and executives a chance to see modern technologies and management practice in action. There is no better place to do so than at the remarkable and diverse workplace available at BlueScope Steel, which is located in the heart of my electorate of Wollongong. Although this was the first on-site seminar the Department of State and Regional Development has held in the Illawarra, it has offered technology programs for small business at centres around the State for almost 20 years. In the past 18 months the University of Wollongong and the Department of State and Regional Development organised two well-received best practice seminars in Wollongong. The first looked at adopting e-commerce for small to medium-size enterprises and the second dealt with supply chain management for small to medium-size enterprises. On the day a substantial number of participants clearly were keen to network and participate. It was a delight to be at that training centre and to see so many enterprises attempting to gain assistance and training.
The launch of this on-site best practice seminar built on successes that had been achieved in the past. Mr Ross Pearce, the convener of the event, was very impressive. I had a lengthy discussion with him and found him to be vibrant, enthusiastic and keen. I had the strong feeling that his enthusiasm could not help but rub off onto those who were participating. Mr Ross Pearce, who manages the Innovative Technology Network innovation cluster, outlined the many benefits of these seminars to participants—a job he told me that he has done now for more than seven years. Ross helped to manage a site visits program for last year's Western Sydney Manufacturing Week, and I am hoping there will be a Wollongong manufacturing week in the near future.
Ross informed me also that he would do another five site visits during this year's Manufacturing Week, which begins in May. Feedback from people who took part in last year's Innovative Technology Network innovation cluster event in June was positive indeed. Nearly 85 per cent of participants found those on-site seminars important or very important as part of their learning process and about 80 per cent felt comfortable interacting with the group. If what happened at BlueScope was anything to go by, they were interacting well. It was clear to see participants valued what they learned from organisations dissimilar to their own.
All participants at the best practice seminar want their businesses to be innovative and competitive, so networking and the exchange of ideas and experiences were strongly encouraged. I commend BlueScope Steel for its willingness to share its knowledge and experience with its key executives who successfully implemented best practice when addressing seminar participants. I am confident that the seminar increased a self-belief among attendees to adopt new technology and innovation. Planning is under way for a second on-site seminar at Port Kembla port as part of Innovation Week, again in my electorate. I congratulate all those involved.