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Call for rural leaders to ‘make a difference’ to wine industry

Given the current challenges facing the Australian wine industry, there has never been a better time for young agribusiness professionals to seize future leadership opportunities.

As part of the wine industry’s strategy for meeting this challenge, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) offer sponsorship for one wine industry candidate per year to join the prestigious Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP).

The program, now in its 17th year, provides leadership training to meet emerging challenges in rural, regional and remote Australia. Applications for the 2010 intake are now being received.

The hands-on ARLP takes up to 59 days over 16 months and includes challenge-based education, hands-on learning, structured training, and an overseas field study. A recent evaluation of the last 15 years showed that 94% of graduates said the program provided them with the capacity to develop as a leader and 98% said it provided them with useful skills and tools to use in their leadership roles. One in five graduates feel that the ARLP has enabled them to make a more substantial contribution to their industry or rural Australia than they otherwise would have been able to make.

The GWRDC – which along with the Winemakers' Federation of Australia, Wine Grape Growers Australia and the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, also supports the wine industry’s own Future Leaders course – is committed to strong industry leadership according to chief executive John Harvey.

“The Future Leaders course is wine industry specific whereas the ARLP provides a bigger picture view of regional Australia and the broader challenges we face,” Harvey said.

“There are different expectations from each program but the shared goal is to give value back to industry and regional Australia.

“We choose to support these initiatives because we believe it is crucial to develop leadership capacity and networks to tackle present and future challenges head-on.”

Current participants Troy Fischer and Mary Retallack and former ARLP wine industry graduates Karen Ronning and Susanne Bell believe the experience has shaped their lives, business drive and confidence.

For further information or application details for the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, visit www.rural-leaders.com.au or contact:

Karim Haddad, Manager: Leadership Education, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, 24 Napier Close Deakin ACT 2600, Ph: 02 6281 0680, Mobile: 0418 165 433, Email:

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