Business bulletin - 9 March 2017

NT Training Awards

Group shot of ProBuild NT 

Nominations for the Northern Territory’s vocational education and training awards are now open.

The Northern Territory Training Awards recognise training excellence and achievement by Territory businesses, training organisations, trainers, apprentices, trainees and students.

The awards offer finalists the chance to gain personal success and to be recognised as part of an elite group of ambassadors who represent the Territory’s best in vocational education and training.

First time entrant and finalist at last year’s NT Training Awards, ProBuild NT progressed to the national awards and was named Medium Employer of the Year.

"Being named Medium Employer of the Year is not only recognition of the contribution we have made but acknowledges the dedication of all our trainees," General Manager Mick Betteridge said.

Established in Alice Springs as a family company 24 years ago, Probuild NT now has a second office in Darwin and employs 65 full time staff. The company also has up to 40 contractors per job site, with an average of 13 active sites spanning from the SA / NT boarder all the way to the Top End.

"We want to provide people living in remote communities, where they were actively undertaking projects, the opportunity to participate in training to assist them in gaining permanent jobs in the community after project completion," Mr Betteridge said.

"Probuild NT delivers the onsite training, and when workers are ready for their assessments, the RTO is flown into the community to conduct the assessments onsite."

The company also has a policy of employing at least two additional apprentices each year, at each office base, while supporting existing apprentices.

"Training is an integral part of every workforce so the more industries that jump on board, the larger the awareness and skilled labour pool will become. We are growing our futures, alongside the future of the whole community."

"After being involved in such a remarkable journey, Probuild NT would recommend anyone considering entering the NT Training Awards to apply today," General Manager Mick Betteridge said.

Nominations for the Northern Territory Training Awards close Wednesday 3 May 2017.

To nominate for the NT Training Awards, visit the NT Training Awards.

A gala dinner to celebrate the winners of this year’s awards will be held on Saturday 23 September 2017.

Get emojifit

Prof Timonthy Skinner and Dr Isabelle Skinner promting the EmojiFit Diabetes App 

Diabetes and emoji’s may seem like an odd coupling, yet the team at Decision Support Analytics have combined the two in an innovative app designed to assist people with type 2 diabetes.

Professor Timothy Skinner of Charles Darwin University heads up the development team for the app, emojifit Diabetes, alongside Dr Isabelle Skinner.

"Tim has been working in diabetes care for a long time, more than 20 years, and he has found goal setting for lifestyle change one of the most difficult things for people to do," Dr Isabelle Skinner said.

"People with type 2 diabetes are often told to change their lifestyle or else they will get some serious complications, and the variety of changes they can make becomes overwhelming.

"Most people start off well but lose motivation, often from trying to change too many things at once," Dr Skinner said.

The app enables users to build action plans working on one thing at a time, aiming to grow their confidence as they take control of their lifestyle. The team also developed a library of emoji’s to ensure the app is easy to use and understand.

"Emoji’s are a new language that crosses over cultural and language barriers. We partnered with a young designer to translate these concepts into pictograms, in the process developed a new emoji library that includes food, activity, emotions and medical procedures and concerns," Dr Skinner said.

"We hope that people with diabetes will feel able to take charge of their goals and be supported to achieve them. The app provides friendly reminders that people set themselves when they were going to do things, or perhaps when they were not going to do things."

The project has been supported through a $16,000 Business Innovation Support Initiative (BISI) voucher. BISI program assists Territory businesses to begin research, undertake feasibility studies, build prototypes and develop product designs and trials.

"The BISI grant has been central to us completing this stage of the project and the support we received from the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation has been fantastic," Dr Skinner said.

“We had done a lot of design work before the grant and had a good idea of what we thought we’d like the app to do. The process of applying for the BISI grant helped us refine our ideas to a scale and timeframe that was achievable.”

Following the successful launch of emojifit Diabetes earlier this month, the next step will be making the app more widely accessible.

"emojifit Diabetes is currently a work in progress. We hope to have it in Android and plan to translate the text into a full suite of languages, including Indigenous languages to make it easier for people in remote communities to use," Dr Skinner said.

For more information and to download the app go to the emojifit Diabetes website

If you have a great idea and would like to learn more about the Business Innovation Support Initiatives program go to the Northern Territory Government website

Study and work in the NT

Couple sitting at a table with paperwork 

Photo: SRA Regional Manager Camille Fong Lim (right)

Local businesses looking for workers have the opportunity to employ or offer on-the-job experience to international students studying in the Northern Territory.

Last month over 250 international students were welcomed to the Northern Territory ahead of the 2017 study year.

Currently, there are over 2,300 international students from 70 different countries studying in the Northern Territory, across schools, vocational education and training (VET), English language colleges and higher education.

During their studies most international students can work up to 40 hours per fortnight and more during vacations.

Many higher education courses require students to undertake internships of up to 300 hours - these are usually unpaid. Plus there are VET courses with paid internship options.

There is also the opportunity for graduates who qualify, to work for up to four years after they've finished their studies.

There are a number of Territory businesses who are making the most of these opportunities including SRA Information Technology who have offered internships to international students.

SRA Regional Manager Camille Fong Lim said the students they’ve had as interns came highly skilled, because of their previous experiences and their ongoing studies in the NT. 

"At this stage we only take on unpaid interns and we only do this when there’s a real project for them to be involved in like the 2016 Business Technology Conference and Expo.

"We provided support to the Business Technology Conference and Expo with marketing, administration, sponsors, partners, other IT organisations," she said.

Australian work experience and opportunities are highly valued by students while the connections, new ideas and perspective students bring can also be beneficial to NT business.

"I have had four international students over the past four years and all students have come with good skills and mostly self-motivated. They tend to be extremely grateful for the opportunity and I am grateful for their help," Ms Fong Lim said.

"My advice to employers and business thinking about taking on international students is just do it. However, be prepared to give them some of your time to mentor them and provide them with a good positive project that gives them experience to suit their skills or what they’re studying."

Territory businesses interested employing international students and would like more information should go to the Study in Australia's Northern Territory website

Infrastructure seals road to Barunga growth

Road train parked at front of a roadhouse 

The Roper Gulf Regional Council is paving the road to success in Barunga, investing in new infrastructure that will help unlock the community’s economic potential.    

Last month the Council secured $280,000 from the Regional Economic Infrastructure Fund to construct a private access road for trucks entering Barunga, approximately 80 kilometers east of Katherine, to deliver freight to the community store.

Heavy vehicle movements within the community have long been a cause for concern for locals. Currently truck drivers are required to navigate around pedestrians and vehicles before parking out outside the community store to unload goods.

The grant will be used to construct a private access road to allow heavy vehicles to stop and safely unload freight behind the new $1.5 million store, which will soon be constructed adjacent to the existing facility. When complete, the access road will link up with local road network.

Funding for the new store has been provided by the Australian Government.

Council CEO Michael Berto said the organisation was proud to be involved with delivering infrastructure for Barunga that would make a significant difference to its economic potential.

"The Council is the Roper Gulf region’s biggest advocate, and part of that involves ensuring our communities receive the financial support required to drive growth and unlock development opportunities," he said.

The council will consult with the community about the private access road over the coming months, with works scheduled to commence during the 2017 dry season.

NT gets China Ready

Sunset over mudflats in Kakadu 

Northern Territory businesses and tourism operators are getting ready to welcome 30,000 Chinese visitors by 2020.

The Northern Territory Government is accelerating its tourism industry support program to ensure the NT is a 'China Ready destination'.

The government has allocated $5 million dollars over two years to attract more tourists from China and India to the Territory.

Last year China was Australia’s second largest international visitor market with more than 1.1 million visitors coming from mainland China to Australia. It was also the largest market for total expenditure.

From now through to 30 June 30 2017, the China Ready initiative will assist hotels and accommodation providers to develop amenities and provide translated, culturally-appropriate tourism material. 

A dedicated Kakadu tour guide training module will also be delivered in collaboration with Charles Darwin University. 

Director National Parks, Parks Australia Sally Barnes said the China Accreditation program helped key visitor sites in the Northern Territory like Kakadu and Uluru prepare for the growing Chinese market.

"I’m pleased Kakadu and Uluru rangers are participating in this program and embracing these new opportunities. Tourism is critical to the Territory and having our team learn more about how to better liaise with guests from China, and Greater China will only help boost the regional economy and provide further jobs in this growing industry," Ms Barnes said.

To find out more about the China Ready Industry program go to the Tourism NT website

NT Training Awards 2017, nominate now, trainingawards.nt.gov.au

Last updated: 09 March 2017