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Small Business Big Future

24 Sep 2008

The number of small businesses in Australia grew to 1.88 million last year, up from 1.2 million in 2001.

Several factors were responsible for this expansion, including a booming national economy, the growth of franchises and small chains, government and corporate outsourcing and innovative new retailing methods.

Small business is now the biggest employer in the country, and despite signals that the economy is slowing; the increase in small operators shows no signs of faltering. If this rate of growth continues, there will be about 2.5 million small business in Australia by 2015.

Operating small business successfully in the future will require far more sophisticated personal skills then ever before and this will be the key to success.

The Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE has no doubt about this. Its Certificate IV in Business (Small Business Management) course, which is being taught on its Preston campus, aims to provide training for owner-managers and people who need management knowledge and skills.

The course covers business and financial planning, marketing and legal requirements necessary to establish and successfully manage a small business. Customer service will be introduced in semester one next year as a main unit of the course. It will join other units, which include researching business opportunities, business planning, establishing a business, legal requirements, financial planning and reports, managing finances, business promotions, analysing and presenting research, promoting products and services and processing tax requirements.

All students wanting to gain the full certificate in small business management qualification must do the business planning segment of the course. This is taught over 60 hours.

Course co-ordinator Tony Nesci says it is designed to help people obtain the skills to establish self-employment ventures and then successfully manage and operate them.

He says the course is part-time, takes a year to complete and classes are held twice a week, in the evening.

“The methods of assessment can include classroom testing, assignments, presentations, group work, and case studies. And students will be required to buy prescribed textbooks as listed in the NMIT Commerce Department book list. Extra material will be allocated by class teachers once students commence their courses”.

Mr Nesci says no academic qualifications are needed for the course, “but the expectation is that applicants will have a good understanding of the industry they would like to go into”.

The course helps those people decide whether they want to go further into the industry or industries they are interested in. It seems to attract people in full-time work and who have a business idea they are considering taking to the next step.

“Other people are self-employed but are looking to learn new skills like record-keeping or marketing. Some students enrol in stand-alone units just to brush-up on certain subjects”.

Mr Nesci says students are “fairly evenly” spread between males and females, and among people as young as 17 and up to their mid-50s.

“The average age would be between the mid- 20s and the mid-30s but all of them are remarkably keen.”

Mr Nesci says recognition of current competencies may be available for some students based on knowledge and skills they have already gained.
He says this can occur when someone applies who has done previous studies or equivalent studies at the same standard at another institution, or if they have various work and life skills.

“And if students successfully complete the certificate IV course, they may be allowed into a range of other tertiary programs, but requirements and exemptions may vary depending on universities.”

There are two intakes held each year for NMIT's Certificate IV in Business (Small Business Management). They begin in February and July.

“We will be doing our next enrolments in late November or early December,” Mr Nesci says.


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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.