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World-renowned rural leadership course hailed huge success

Published: February 20, 2018

Duchy College Duchy Stoke Climsland

One of the world’s leading rural leadership courses is celebrating the conclusion of another successful year.


The Challenge of Rural Leadership course, now in its 22nd year, has been lauded by delegates and organisers.


Managed by the Rural Business School (RBS) at Duchy College, part of the Cornwall College Group, on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Farmers, delegates from across the globe came to Dartington Hall in Devon to undertake the intensive and rewarding programme.


They have returned to their businesses with new found confidence and skills to enable them to thrive in an ever-changing agricultural industry, according to Director of RBS, Richard Soffe.


“It was great to work with another outstanding group of international, high potential managers on the Challenge of Rural Leadership this year, as well as using Riverford Organics as a local case study,” he explained.


The Worshipful Company of Farmers has a new chair of education Karen Mercer who, along with the retiring chair Mike Rowe and the Master, Julian Sayers, joined the course for several sessions. Everyone was impressed with the beautiful Dartington Hall, and the enthusiasm of the delegates.


Two Nuffield scholars from Australia were in attendance, along with the Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, and the President of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster.


The first week of the course formed a case study which focused on a local business. The delegates visited early in the week and had an overview of every process which currently makes the business work.


During the second week the focus turns to the individual. There were sessions on psychometrics, the media, time-management and how to present yourself under scrutiny. There were also more guest speakers, such as the President of the NFU, MPs and also a military commander, all of whom brought a unique perspective on their own paths to leadership.


Nuffield Australia delegate Bernadette Mortensen, said “I had high expectations for the course and my expectations have not only been met, they have been surpassed”.


President YFC Clubs Ulster, James Speers concurred and added it was an “invaluable experience I will never forget”.


Richard said he was “greatly looking forward to the 23rd Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Challenge of Rural Leadership”.


“The application process has just reopened on the Rural Business School website.”


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