The Challenge of Rural Leadership Course is one the Worshipful Company of Farmers flagship educational offerings. It was established 20 years ago to help identify and develop the future leaders of the agricultural industry. The Course is run, on behalf of the Company, by the Rural Business School Team at the Duchy College and attracts delegates from not just the UK but from around the world.
A selection process for delegates takes place each year in October, via interviews held at our Livery Hall in the City of London. We are looking for delegates who can generate a long term endowment benefit for the agricultural industry through participation on the course.
The course itself is held over a two week period at Dartington Hall, Devon in January of each year and the programme is designed to help enable the delegates to examine the specific challenges faced by rural industries. On the back of their analysis the whole group develops a greater awareness of the strategic issues likely to affect other rural businesses. There are also elements of the course to help delegates improve the motivation and communication skills that are so vital in today’s working environment, and particularly for this cohort, if they are going to go on and have influence in the rural community both nationally and internationally. Financial, political and environmental issues are also addressed.
Delegates visit a leading argi-business to undertake a strategic review of the business, which is later presented back to the business owners. Over the course of their two weeks the group will be addressed by around thirty different, high quality speakers and presenters. And each course participant is individually profiled to help them better understand their own strengths, weaknesses and leadership style.
Eighteen delegates are selected for each course, with usually up to four being from overseas. It is the interaction, discussion and sharing of knowledge and experiences between delegates that is the magic ingredient, and which leads to the participants developing strong networks, and often lifelong friendships, throughout the rural industry. In essence individuals come away from Dartington with seventeen non-executive directors!
The 20th Challenge of Rural Leadership Course was held between the 10th and 23rd of January 2016 with the 21st course to take place in January 2017. Interviews for the course will be held at the Farmers' and Fletchers' Hall at Three Cloth Street in October 2016, with the actual date to be announced in the near future. The photograph is of the 2015 attendees with the Master, Tony Alston, and course Director, Richard Soffe.
For further information and an application form visit the College website.