Leaders set sail on Australian Rural Leadership Program experience  

29 rural leaders will tomorrow set sail as part of the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) experience, joining an influential network of leaders in making a difference across our regions once they graduate.

The ARLP is the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’s flagship program with countless graduates going on to lead at a regional, state, national and international level. The upcoming program is the 30th held in the 30th year the ARLF has been operating, marking three decades of impact across rural, remote and regional Australia.

It includes an alumni of more than 2500 graduates; more than 850 from the ARLP, 86 being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. These change makers have gone on to lead biosecurity for the seafood industry; create the world first Indigenous carbon trading platform; launch an emissions reduction program for beef cattle; champion fire management and climate change internationally; roll out a 740km wild dog fence in far west NSW; form a cooperative focused on the economic security of rural women; start an innovative online childbirth education platform recognised by Australia’s health insurers; help disadvantaged youth secure a home and employment; establish the Australian Women in Agriculture network; to bringing tutors to remote farming families to help with schooling. Then there’s the shake-up of the political landscape with the rise of Independents. This is just a snippet of the ARLF’s legacy.

ARLF chief executive Matt Linnegar says the upcoming 30th course will, for the first time, include a session to be delivered in challenging bushland of the Dharawal people on the NSW south coast that places participants well out of their comfort zone, as well the challenge of sailing a ship as a team, to get there.

“The ARLP remains the longest and most in-depth experiential leadership development program in the country. We are excited about the opportunities the revamped Course 30 design offers for participants and our ARLF partner organisations,” he says. “Our experiential learning approach means participants learn by doing, not in classrooms. Dharawal country offers a rich environment for learning and where participants will commence with a focus on awareness, authenticity and adaptation.

“Over 15 months, in the most unique learning environments, these leaders will come together to learn and develop their leadership in a collective environment, working together to drive positive change across organisations, industry sectors and rural, regional and remote Australia.”

The cohort has a rich mix of backgrounds in sustainability and innovation, agriculture supply chains, biological technologies for agriculture, rail, workforce and training, education, mental health, animal health, indigenous issues, along with seafood, fisheries, poultry, dairy, red meat and wool operations. Their participation is made possible thanks to ARLF partners.

ARLF chair Rick Sawers welcomes and congratulates the participants and in stepping up to lead during challenging times locally, regionally and globally.

“The need for individual and collective leadership, both ‘in Australia’ and ‘for Australia’ is on the rise. Australians already enjoy strong lifestyle wellbeing metrics, (health, education, security and wealth) and we have always delivered business success and innovation well beyond expectations for an economy and population of our size. That’s great and continuing to do that will require significant effort and leadership,” he says.

“Yet there are important additional challenges where impactful leadership for rural Australia is required like improving inequity and inequality, climate and energy transition, liveability, innovation and more.

“For 30 years now, the ARLP has been identifying and encouraging individuals to step up to local, regional and global challenges such as these. The program will help you discover the leadership capability you may not have recognised in yourself before, help you build on that and will also give you a close personal connection to the ARLP 30 cohort you will be part of and access to a broader alumni network of more than 2500 leaders. This will truly set you up to make a real difference in the future through your own leadership, wherever you choose to apply it.”

Course 27 alumni Michael McIvor agrees, describing the ARLP experience as life changing. zone was one of the most valuable experiences.

Course 30 participant sponsored by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Sallie Jones is keen to gain more tools to equip herself as a leader and continue to grow. The co-founder of Gippsland Jersey and mental health advocate became interested when hosting previous cohorts at their Lakes Entrance factory.

“I understand that having the power of a network is such a big thing when you want to create change – doors open doors. ARLP leaders are all doing has incredible things in their industries. I’m fascinated for myself, because I do want to see if I can extend and deepen my understanding of leadership and of how I can do better moving forward,” Sallie says.

The ARLF will soon be recruiting the next cohort for ARLP Course 31, with applications opening 2 June. If you’re ready to step up, or know someone who is, visit our website to find out more.

Media contact: Karen Freer, Manager, Communications 0403 447 344 / karenf@rural-leaders.org.au

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