Young leaders to the fore

A STRONG contingent of young Tasmanians has been given an opportunity to expand their knowledge and build connections in the rural sector.

A total of eight of the 28 participants at the most recent Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program were from Tasmania.

The program is held at the Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, Victoria, and is an intensive five-day workshop designed to equip young people to become innovative, engaged and passionate industry and community leaders.

Tasmanian participant Kate Goft said she met some inspirational people from all over Australia and found the focus on leadership skills, self-confidence and personal effectiveness very rewarding.

“For me personally, I gained a lot of insight into how I think about myself in terms of being a leader in the agricultural community, and learnt that I need to have more confidence in my ability to communicate with others,” Ms Goft said.

“The program was challenging on a personal level – often requiring us to examine our own personal values and how they have been established over time. “The opportunity to focus entirely on the program without distraction of daily life was very effective, and the overall experience was powerful and motivating.”

Ms Goft is currently the Deputy Chair of Dairy Tas and was sponsored to attend by the Tasmanian Dairy Trust. She is also a board member of Primary Employers Tasmania and also recently on the Levy Polly Advisory Committee for the Dairy Industry. Tasmanian participants at the program came from a range of industry sectors including agronomy, sheep, beef, vegetables, dairy and agribusiness.

Topics covered during the program included communications, emotional intelligence, mental health in rural Australia and Indigenous Australia. David Cornish, convenor of the Rural Leadership Program at Marcus Oldham College, said the leadership program aimed to provide participants with the tools that would allow them to achieve their leadership potential.

“We believe that leadership is everyone’s business not just those of people in positions of power. So, by enabling participants to strive to be the best leader they can we are making a positive contribution to rural communities around Australia,” Mr Cornish said.

The program, which began in 1992, is recognised as one of the longest running rural leadership programs in the nation.

It has developed a strong reputation in the agricultural and agribusiness sector, attracting support from a wide range of industry and rural community groups from diverse regional backgrounds.