Leading the charge towards tomorrow – For Our Future 2019 graduates
The future of Australia’s forest and wood products industry is in safe hands, as 46 more participants graduate from the For Our Future program.
Following last year’s successful pilot program, the FWPA-supported For Our Future initiative returned for a second year in 2019, with participants gathering from Tasmania, Gippsland, southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Session one activities took place during a series of four-day residential programs, focused on regional issues and developing a deeper understanding of self and others to lay the foundations for ethical leadership.
Ultimately, attendees from all geographical locations came together for a five-day session in Canberra, culminating in a graduation at The National Arboretum in June. The focus in Canberra moved towards working across organisations and at the national level for the greater good of the industry.
For Our Future is an experiential program focusing on regional and collaborative leadership. It aims to identify and train future leaders in the sector, while providing connections and opportunities for collaboration.
The program involves intensive training, exploring different ways of framing issues, organisational dynamics, consultation processes, conflict resolution and more. It also provides participants with opportunities to hear from industry experts and leaders in other fields, while working together to identify the industry’s challenges.
The training is delivered in partnership with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and Polykala, an organisation that focuses on developing leaders in sectors facing complex challenges or change.
Matthew Linnegar, Chief Executive of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, said the objective is to help produce leaders across the sector.
“Do we require people who can look beyond their own organisations and act in the broader interests of the sector? Yes, we do! Do we need people who can communicate well and who can form relationships, even with those with whom they are in competition? Yes, we do!” Mr Linnegar explained.
“The program has multiple benefits. Firstly, the individual participants will benefit from developing their own abilities as leaders. Secondly, their organisations will benefit from the strong leadership skills they bring back with them. And thirdly, we hope the sector will start to think, act and interact in a more unified way.”
Ric Sinclair, Managing Director at FWPA, said the For Our Future program is a great example of FWPA’s continued investment in existing forestry workers and future leaders.
“Our previous graduates have provided universally positive feedback on the program’s value and impact, not only in terms of their skills development, but also the opportunity to meet their industry peers.
“It’s great to see so many more participants successfully complete the program in 2019 and we look forward to seeing them take the skills they have learned out into the industry,” Mr Sinclair said.