IF you are looking for a chance to move into leadership, a great step could be to apply for the 2023 Growing Leaders Scholarship.
The CBH Group, in partnership with the Grower Group Alliance (GGA) and Leadership WA, has announced applications for 2023 are open.
Valued at $15,500, the program takes place over 10 months and along with upskilling, can provide the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the industry.
Due to the strong number of applicants last year, one spot has been pre-allocated to Julie Freeman from Mullewa, leaving one spot open for the right candidate.
Ms Freeman was thrilled to be given a second chance at the scholarship, after narrowly missing out last year.
"I was so disappointed last year and am incredibly grateful to be given a second opportunity to get involved," Ms Freeman said.
A woman who wears many hats, including farming with her husband just south and west of Mullewa, she is an advocate for growing local communities.
"My real interest is in community and community development," Ms Freeman said.
"The two things fit well together because agriculture needs people and people need communities and really for the future of agriculture to be successful we have to have sustainable rural communities.
"That was my pitch to the GGA for the scholarships, I am clear about the challenges and issues that face my community here in Mullewa and in similar surrounding towns."
Ms Freeman wants to upskill herself in leadership and advocacy, to make a change at a system level.
"We need to make sure that our rural populations are sustainable and thriving going forward," she said.
"If we want to attract and more importantly retain young people to come back into the industry, we need sustainable communities that meet their needs.
"There has been such an extended period of centralising everything in the name of economic rationalism, they've sucked all of the jobs and opportunities out of our little towns.
"I'd like to see all levels of government - local, State and Federal - genuinely committing to investment in rural communities because they can see the value in us."
Ms Freeman is excited about the big conversations that will need to be had about the sustainability of rural and regional Western Australia, believing this scholarship will give her the boost she needs to step up.
"I am keen to improve my communication skills so I can better handle conflict moments, moments of tension - all change brings tension and people will push back," she said.
"To know how to handle push back and how to manage change, they are the skills I am looking at and wanting to develop and I am hoping that will come through in the course."
She is also excited by the prospect of networking and learning from others across a broad range of industries.
"That's where the real gold is, in the people that you meet and get to know," she said.
"Other people's experience and finding where your points of similarity are and the innovations that they can offer that you may never have thought of."
Leadership WA chief executive officer Dominique Mecoy said developing individual leadership capability was one of the most powerful investments that could be made.
"The past 12 months have brought considerable challenges, and the ever-changing nature of leadership means that humanity, diversity in collaboration, resilience and courage are attributes needed in our leaders now more than ever before," she said.
"The Signature Leadership Program provides WA leaders with the environment to develop their authentic leadership skills."
This will be the sixth cohort of the scholarship program and is open to anyone involved in a graingrowing businesses in WA, who has demonstrated grower group and community involvement.
Applications close on July 31.
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