Like many sea-changers, Craig and Jane Gaze came to Kangaroo Island five years ago for a quieter life, now they are relishing the new business opportunities that have come via the Airport Upgrade Pilot Project as part of the Transformation Project.

Craig’s Plumbing has tendered successfully for part of the Kangaroo Island Council’s new Community Wastewater Management Scheme (CWMS) in Penneshaw, and the Gazes acknowledge it would not have been possible without the Business Support Service Project as part of the Transformation Project, sponsored by the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Wendy Campana.

The first stage of the Business Support Services Project was aimed at the construction and building industry with a focus on the Airport Upgrade. Ten businesses participated in workshops, mentoring and training to help prepare themselves for the large construction projects planned on Kangaroo Island. Funding support was received from the Federal Government’s Industry Skills Fund, the Commissioner’s Office and the Department of State Development.

“It’s really given us the push and the confidence to grow our business, to go from being a sole trader to employing others,” Craig said.

Jane said she was ‘dead chuffed’ about the support she received during the project and it had helped her write a financial plan, a business plan and a capability statement. She had also learned project management skills.

“I guess I was always busy with the kids and my own work and now we’ve got this chance to get serious about the business; it’s an exciting opportunity,” she said.

Craig said he hoped local people would support local trades and he planned to offer work experience opportunities to students on Kangaroo Island with the view to taking on another apprentice after their son Simon completed his apprenticeship this year.

They both urged local businesses to take advantage of the Transformation Project. “We just saw the ad for the information session in The Islander and we were interested in tendering for the CWMS project so we went along,” Jane said.