10 June 2023

Applications open for leadership workshops looking to revitalise "burnt out" not-for-profit workers

| Claire Sams
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Ms Ardler said the workshops are intended to bring together volunteers and employees from not-for-profits in the Bega Valley and Shoalhaven regions. Photo: FORTYTWO/Unsplash.

The Black Summer bushfires swept through parts of New South Wales three years ago, but scars still remain.

As the state continues its recovery, a series of leadership workshops have been planned to revitalise not-for-profit employees and volunteers.

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) South Coast Program Manager for the Investing in Rural Community Futures Program Carolyn Ardler said the workshops weren’t just aimed at company leaders.

“Some people are reluctant leaders who don’t want to acknowledge that they are leaders.

“It’s really about anybody with a passion or purpose that wants to do more work within their community, or wants to approach the way they give back to the community with a bit more scaffolding.”

The FRRR has partnered with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation to run several workshops.

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Each session will have 24 people in a cohort, with sessions set to run in the Bega Valley and the Shoalhaven regions from August to November.

“It’s a safe way for people working together to explore their own leadership capabilities, identify their own strengths and then build on those and work out how they can take those strengths back to their communities,” Ms Ardler said.

“It’s really about identifying their potential, as much as having someone turn up and say, ‘I’m a leader’.

“They want leaders who have only just started their leadership journey or have never seen themselves as leaders but are natural connectors of people.”

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Ms Ardler said the workshops would focus on building the participants’ ability to assist with ongoing bushfire recovery, as well as experiential learning to increase their leadership skills.

“There are a lot of people who are tired and burnt out in this field.

“These types of programs help them to learn who they could lean on within the community.”

Ms Ardler said the workshops would spark networking opportunities and potential collaborations between people and organisations.

“A lot of the feedback and work that we’ve done in the communities was discussion around leadership and the desire for more leadership and learning opportunities,” she said.

Ms Ardler said another goal of the workshops was to prepare Bega Valley and Shoalhaven communities to continue their work to support their residents through any future crises.

“The overall program behind the leadership workshops is really focused on keeping what works going.

“That is, how it makes it sustainable, how to keep those little groups going, how to formalise some of that work, going forward.”

The workshops are fully funded by the Australian Government, meaning participation is free.

Applications for the leadership programs close 18 June.

Those interested in applying for either the Bega Valley program or the Shoalhaven program can do so online.


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