Leadership Impact Case Study: Unrestricted Scholarships

Unrestricted ARLP scholarships ensure diversity in program participants, and enrich the alumni network across rural and regional Australia.

Nuance. It’s a vital part of living and working in regional Australia. From understanding the cultural significance of a place to getting a handle on the polaric difference between ‘yeah…nah’ and ‘nah…yeah,’ the nuances of the bush are what give it its rich uniqueness.

The only way to understand the nuance of a place is through immersion. To live and breathe the land and its people. To understand the history of a place and who was there before you. To yarn. And to develop a respect for what has happened there — even if you find it confronting.

Even if you would have made different choices. The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) knows that. And it knows that the making of regional leaders must happen in the regions. And that’s what makes its flagship program, the Australian Regional Leadership Program (ARLP) so effective. Over 15 months, nominated leaders participate in immersive experiences in regional Australia and overseas. The focus on continuing adaptive leadership has allowed the program to thrive for nearly 30 years.

The participants, and the network they form, becomes the ARLP Fellowship — a dynamic group of graduates who work collectively for the greater good in regional Australia. The network is effective because of the shared experience of having participated in the ARLP, but it’s more than that.

It consists of people who live and breathe regional Australia. Whose immersion in communities, industries, government and the welfare of their neighbours is its biggest strength.

Of that network, there is a small group of graduates, the Unrestricted Scholarship recipients, whose nuanced careers would previously have excluded them from participating in the ARLP. Superb leaders in their own right, but not funded for the program because their diverse experiences have meant that they don’t fit neatly into a commodity or industry framework.

Thanks to Unrestricted Scholarships, whose donations come with no strings attached, the ARLP is able to think outside the box. The result is increased diversity, a strong understanding of nuance and perspective, and a splash of creativity that colours the whole cohort.

Read Yola, Rose and Fiona’s impact story here.

For more information about Unrestricted Scholarships contact Vivienne Johnson via viviennej@rural-leaders.org.au