Australian Small Business Participation in Training Activities
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Business and Public Management
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of on-line training by small businesses in Australia. It explores the relationship between the owner's acceptance and use of the internet, and their current participation in training opportunities. A sample of small businesses which had participated in an Australian government scheme aimed at improving the participation of this business sector in training, were surveyed using a mailed questionnaire. The scheme provided training vouchers to businesses to fund training activities for the owner managers. Findings suggest that business characteristics can affect the participation in training, with those having plans more likely to engage in training. The use of the internet for training has improved accessibility for small businesses and offers some potential as a delivery medium, however, the findings also highlight the lack of e-literacy of many small business owners. Given the increasing importance of small business in Australia, it is necessary to continuously promote and encourage the role of training and skills development for owners and their employees. This study highlights a relationship between growth and the need for training, however, acknowledges that many small business owners are reluctant to participate in skill development and training. This paper highlights the need for small business owners and their staff to recognise their training needs, and to have a broader understanding of the importance of their training and development needs.