IN an effort to see more high quality directors putting their hands up for agricultural boards, GrainGrowers Limited has created an inaugural directors program.
To be eligible for the GrainGrowers OnBoard grower directors program, applicants need to be growers who are actively seeking a position on a board in the agricultural or grains industry.
The course includes teaching participants hard skills to help them get a board seat, including interview practice, writing a CV, as well as learning the role and responsibilities of a director.
Students will also undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) course, a high level standard required from most organisations with a contemporary governance model in Australia.
The third element is honing some of the soft skills required of a board member such as communicating with influence, how to have difficult conversations and how to build a strong collegiate board.
GrainGrowers chief executive officer Dave McKeon said while there were some great industry contributors, it was important to build the pipeline of growers to meet the needs and challenges of the agricultural industry in the future and help its advocacy groups and organisations thrive.
"GrainGrowers has been really fortunate as we've had a lot of strong interest from growers keen to put their hand up for our board and we've had a competitive field of potential directors that members have voted on," Mr McKeon said.
"In saying that, quite often there will be growers who might put their hand up to be a director on GrainGrowers or they might be thinking about putting their hand up to be a director on GrainGrowers but they haven't had the opportunity to fully develop all of their skills to be really competitive in that process.
"Growers have a busy role in running their full-time farm business, but through a little bit of support and training that we're offering through this program, we can make sure they can put up the strongest case possible to go on a board."
Applicants are required to provide an endorsement letter to show that they have supporters within the industry, who see them having great potential to add to it.
"It's also important for them to demonstrate how they may have already played a strong role in contributing to their community or their industry and the potential they may add to a board directors role in the future," Mr McKeon said.
Due to some of the State border restrictions in place, the organisation is still fine tuning exactly how and where the course will take place, however Mr McKeon said elements such as the AICD course would need to be delivered in the participant's home State.
"Pending restrictions, we are hopeful that we might be able to get the group together at a national level at some stage during the year for the other elements of the course," Mr McKeon said.
"Interest has been really strong so far and applications have started flowing in this week."
With paid and unpaid director roles both common in the agricultural sector, Mr McKeon said it was important that the individual has a greater drive to make a positive contribution to their community than a drive to seek an income stream from being a board director.
"However most organisations these days recognise the value that board directors add and also recognise the time that those individuals spend onfarm, therefore directors are often paid accordingly," Mr McKeon said.
GrainGrowers will cover the costs for the portions of the program hosted by GrainGrowers including travel and accommodation expenses and offer a fixed financial assistance payment for participants with dependants while they are at face-to-face meetings.
For the company directors course offered as part of the program, GrainGrowers will cover the program costs, minus a $500 participant contribution.
Candidates need to be able to fund their own travel and accommodation costs for the five day AICD course in their closest capital city.
Applications are open for the GrainGrowers OnBoard grower directors program and close on Friday, March 12, 2021.
- For more information or to apply visit graingrowers.com.au/leadership-events/onboard-a-grower-director-program/
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