Practicing in safe places – why it is important for supporting partners to provide action learning opportunities for Young Farming Champions

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) is proud to partner with a range of organisations who support our Young Farming Champions (YFC) through their leadership and career development journeys. Two of these partners are Riverina Local Land Services (RLLS) and Corteva Agriscience, and both have recently shown the power of giving young people the opportunity to practice in safe places.

Riverina Local Land Services sponsors YFC Dylan Male and invited him to present to the Board and to join Board members on property tours. Dylan grew up in the Riverina (Wiradjuri Country) and although now studying in Melbourne he relishes the chance to return home. When general manager Ray Willis asked Dylan to present to the Board he took the opportunity to speak of this connection to the Riverina and how it sparked his interest in agriculture, which has led to a PhD researching the revival of an Aboriginal crop species. Following the Board meeting Dylan joined members for a networking dinner and then an agricultural tour of the Young Region.

“I am excited to not only be embarking on this learning journey [with YFC] but to also be joining such a great family of agricultural leaders motivated to achieve positive change. I look forward to future opportunities provided by RLLS that will continue to empower me on my journey to become a Young Farming Champion,” Dylan says.

Dylan Male with the Riverina Local Land Services Board

Ray, too, appreciates the partnership between PYiA and RLLS and the mentoring his organisation can provide Dylan.

“By providing Dylan with opportunities in our Board room, working alongside our staff and our individual one-on-one sessions, we hope to expose him to real world examples to show him how important building relationships and conveying your message is, no matter your situation. We plan on assisting Dylan build on his confidence, skills and abilities with a broad range of experiences with us,” Ray says.

Each year Corteva Day celebrates the launch of Corteva as an independent pureplay agriculture business and at an event held at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney recently YFC Steph Tabone and Connie Mort were invited to present to the group on their YFC experiences.

“The environment that Connie and I were able to talk within was safe as we knew everyone in the room, but it gave us the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone as we got to speak in front of the group, when normally we would be the ones listening in the crowd,” Steph says.

Rob Kaan presenting at the Corteva Day breakfast 

Following Corteva Day Steph has a range of opportunities coming up including attendance at a Think Tank event hosted by Green Collar and at the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW AgVision event, where she will share Corteva’s agricultural career pathways with year’s 9-12 students. This combined with YFC workshops, the YFC buddy system (where she is partnered with Dr Jo Newton OAM ) and mentoring with ANZ Corteva managing director Rob Kaan means Steph is fast-tracking her road to confident leadership.

“I feel grateful to be involved in the YFC program as it has already led to many positive things for me personally and professionally, and I appreciate the support and safe places to learn and challenge myself.”

Steph Tabone, Lynne Strong and Greg Mitchell at the Corteva Day breakfast 

Connie Mort was also invited by Rob Kaan to share her experiences with the Young Farming Champion program with Corteva team members at the organisation’s second birthday celebrations at the City of Sydney Botanic Gardens

I really valued the chance to stand up along side Steph and share what we have been doing with PYiA, and also how our values at Corteva align so nicely with what we are aiming to achieve as part of the YFC journey. There was great enthusiasm from our colleagues about how they can support us over the course of the YFC program, and that they can support the industry in which they work through their own involvement with PYiA, which I’m truly excited about.   

I am really looking forward to connecting with my fellow YFCs during the upcoming workshops and face-to-face events, and learning from those that have been a part of the program for many years already. It is encouraging to know that we have this safe space to communicate with our peers on this program when we are faced with challenges and need some feedback. I am enjoying being partnered with YFC alumni buddy Katherine Bain for the first part of my learning journey and looking forward to sharing my story with the Griffith Soroptimist club in July”

Rob Kaan is proud of the mentoring opportunities initiated by his company.

“At Corteva we are fortunate to have established some clear corporate values during the creation of the organization two years ago after our merger process.  People management and talent development is one of our key pillars, supported by a strong sense of promoting diversity and inclusion.  Within this, employee mentoring is a process we provide to employees seeking guidance, support and the opportunity to learn new skills and competencies from peers.  It’s often not a supervisor to employee relationship; mentoring works best when two employees build an open and trusting relationship built on curiosity, sharing experiences and providing guidance in a “safe environment”.   We help facilitate these employee connections and, in the case of young talented employees like Steph and Connie, YFC helps complement our mentoring programs very nicely,” he says.

PYiA’s vision to empower young people to reach their full potential through life-long learning and support is mirrored in organisations such as Riverina Local Land Services and Corteva Agriscience. When partnerships such as these, that invest in our young people, are formed and nurtured we will see agriculture and community thrive.

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