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New programme to boost rural leadership

16 May 2005 Media Statement

New programme to boost rural leadership

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New Zealand Young Farmers National President Hilary Phillips & Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor

A new Rural Leadership Development Programme (RLDP) announced today is just what the rural sector needs, says Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor.

The programme is designed for people involved in rural life and agribusiness. It builds on things like communication and presentation skills, strategic planning and leadership.

"The rural sector is facing an aging demographic, and its skill and leadership base is gradually eroding," Mr O'Connor said. "We need bright young people to step in and fill the gaps and the leadership programme is specifically designed to achieve this."

The RLDP has grown out of the NZ Young Farmers' leadership development programme, which was initiated two years ago. The success and endorsement of that programme saw it evolve into the NZQA accredited RLDP. It's now open to an expanded rural audience and people of all ages. Those who complete the programme gain a "Certificate of Rural Leadership".

The Ministry of Education will fund the programme, with Taratahi Agriculture Training Centre as the training provider. An advisory board comprising members from NZ Young Farmers, Taratahi and the Agriculture Training Organisation (AgITO) will run it.

Taratahi Education Manager Steve Hannam said the centre was excited to be involved. "We've worked pretty hard over the last year with the AgITO and NZ Young Farmers to get the programme up and running. It will really help fill a gap in the industry."

AgITO CEO Kevin Bryant agreed. "There's not enough out there giving young people the confidence to pursue their goals. By expanding the programme, we're delivering more support for the farming sector. We're thrilled to be part of it and to support young people in agriculture."

New Zealand Young Farmers National President Hilary Phillips said the programme offered rural people the chance to discuss and share ideas and build networks. "It's all about gaining skills and confidence in a safe environment."


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