TRAIL: emerging leaders program

TRAIL is a cross-sector, challenge based leadership program for Australia’s emerging rural leaders.

The program takes diverse people from different occupations, communities and backgrounds and expands their leadership skills.

The program includes a challenging four-day outdoor leadership experience, along with numerous workshops, panel sessions and seminars aimed at building and developing leadership skills.


Participants will engage in immersive, challenge-based activities in order to;

  • Develop awareness of how behaviour impacts on the relationships with others
  • Be tolerant of divergent perspectives and interpretations as social beings
  • Explore adaptive strategies to address complex issues and situations
  • Implement transformative change
  • Increase awareness of the fundamental principles of leadership – awareness, adaptation and authenticity and of the associated behaviours of these
  • Use reflection  as an essential tool for leadership
  • Build peer networks for future collaboration and support
  • Explore a range of areas relevant to leadership; including ethics, values, social responsibility, negotiation, communication, critical thinking


  • Psychometric assessment to expand understanding of self and others
  • Experiential learning challenges to take participants out of their comfort zone.
  • Practical opportunities to understand and practice leadership in situations which require teamwork, matching of individuals to tasks and complex, direct
  • Experiencing leadership behaviour through the leadership stories of others.
  • Supporting participants to deconstruct complex situations and assumptions through exposure to topical issues for rural, regional and remote Australia
  • Initiating structured pathways for future leadership development, including personal leadership development plans.
  • Time for participants to get to know each other in authentic ways
  • Drawing on the knowledge, ideas and reflection of participants and less on external experts. When participants are exposed to external expertise, they don’t experience
    the benefits of learning from each other and are less likely to appreciate the value of remaining connected after the program ends.
  • The promotion of leadership models that are collaborative
  • The inclusion of activities that applaud risk taking and celebrate mistakes

This program will be designed to challenge participants, in safe learning environments, with the intention of improving leadership capability, awareness and thinking. It will reflect particular principles of leadership development that;

  • Learning is fundamentally social
  • Knowledge is integrated within groups, teams and communities
  • Learning is active
  • Deep transformational learning occurs when there is a combination of challenge and support*

And that;

  • Leadership programs provide a container for bringing together diverse perspectives that enrich problem solving and innovation^
* Michael Johnstone PhD, Disrupting Leadership Development: Can we keep up with Change?
^How to Develop Network Leadership and Support Emerging Networks, Leadership Learning Community October 2017


If you:

  • are an emerging rural leader
  • want to increase your leadership knowledge
  • want to gain exposure to key role models
  • want to develop a supportive network of peers


TRAIL is an open enrolment fee-for-service program. Some participants self-fund, while others obtain support from their industry or workplace.

The cost of TRAIL is $10,450 (inclusive of GST) per participant.

A participant contribution of $220 (inclusive of GST) is required to secure your place on the program. You may also be required to fund some of the components of the program which will be outlined in a welcome letter when you are accepted on this program.

Program dates and location

In late 2021, TRAIL will be delivered over 11 days in October.

  • 25-31 October, location to be confirmed


TRAIL helps participants develop a strong platform of skills, attributes and knowledge, enabling emerging leaders to engage more effectively in their organisations, communities and industries.

View 2020 Program Report to Partners here.


To register for placements on the program, organisations need to complete this form. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the names of participants, these can be provided at a later date.

Once participants have a placement in the program, they need to complete an application form by clicking here.

More information

Please call 02 6281 0680 or email

TRAIL gave me a new found confidence in myself as a leader, TRAIL gave me a more mature insight into being a leader and a person as a whole, Emily Pollock, TRAIL 2016 graduate