WESTERN Australian grower co-operative CBH is hoping to develop the next generation of rural leaders through its regional capacity building program, a tiered training scheme designed to upskill co-op members across the state.
Michelle Barrett, the immediate past chair of the CBH Grower Advisory Council (GAC) and Munglinup, west of Esperance, farmer, said the GAC had pushed to implement the program to help develop leadership capabilities in rural Western Australia.
So far, she said the results were promising.
"There's been fantastic interest, this year we've had more applicants than spaces in the program," Ms Barrett said.
She said the program was run across two modules, held roughly two months apart.
There are four separate locations for the training, one in each of CBH's four port zones, Geraldton, Kwinana, Albany and Esperance.
"Around 20 people participate in each of the groups, meaning there are 80 people across Western Australia getting that training each year," Ms Barrett said.
She said that while CBH ran the training with a view to ensure it had a pool of growers ready to step up to a seat on the CBH board when the opportunity arises, it also had spin-off benefits for the broader rural sector in WA.
"These are the people that are on the local footy club committee, they are on the parents and friends association at the school and this sort of upskilling will allow them to do those jobs better as well."
Ms Barrett said the initial course was designed for those who wanted to build their leadership capabilities but didn't necessarily have the time or ability to travel to participate in other leadership training, such as the various rural leadership programs offered or business-based units such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) courses.
"It has been designed to appeal to grassroots CBH members and to get a diverse range of people participating," Ms Barrett said.
Topics such as not for profit governance training are covered early on before progressing, with growers offered program to provide increased levels of leadership skills.
She said natural stepping stones for those participating could be opportunities such as the GAC.
"It is a great way to help people prepare if they want to put their hand up to develop their skills, I think it is a great investment by CBH into our future."