An endeavour to engage, retain and develop future industry leaders has seen the Graeme Acton Beef Connections Mentoring Program return to Beef for a third time.
Bringing together a group of 10 young individuals, the program provides a structured journey focusing on identifying and developing the personal and professional skills and knowledge that will enable them to be recognised as future industry leaders.
Program coordinator Barbara Bishop said she hopes showcasing the program at Beef once again will emphasise to industry stakeholders the necessity, benefit and value of mentoring to the future of the industry.
"For many years, we have been talking about the lack of young people in the industry, whether it is in relation to the shortage of people who want to work in the industry, the family members who want to return to the family business, or even 'who is going to run the local show society," she said.
"There are many people and organisations working on solutions to these problems and the key is engage, retain and develop."
Beginning the program in August 2020, Ms Bishop said the journey for the mentor partners has seen them all progress to a point where they are ticking off some of their personal and professional development goals.
"Some of these goals were achieved when they attended the You're on Show workshop in March where they worked on their presentation and public speaking skills.
"Each mentor partner had to participate in impromptu speaking, a media interview and a 10-minute presentation on their Beef Connections journey.
"Everyone did a great job and were able to better prepare for Beef 2021 presentations with the feedback they received from their peers and the mentors.
"The other major goal that they have progressed through is their project work."
The projects range from topics like developing extension podcasts for the northern beef industry, to a comparison of marketing channels on long-term performance of cattle.
During Beef, the mentor partners will speak about their journeys and engage with current industry leaders at several functions, in addition to participating in property tours on the Monday, with two of the tours being hosted by a mentor and a mentor partner.