One of the cornerstone programs conducted by Picture You in Agriculture is Young Farming Champions, which trains and encourages young agricultural professionals to share positive stories with all stakeholders, whether that is community, industry or government bodies. In our ten years of operation the methods by which this is achieved have been evaluated and refined, as the YFCs have spread their wings to share their stories – from classrooms to the international stage.
On commencement of the YFC journey participants attend workshops held by some of Australia’s finest communication, marketing and professional development experts including Lead Workshop Facilitator Jenni Metcalfe from Econnect Communication and Greg Mills from GoAhead Business Solutions.
“Some YFCs are very nervous about speaking in front of their peers, school kids or other audiences,” Jenni says, “but once you give them a structure to follow, some tips – reinforced by video analysis – on how they can appear more confident in front of an audience, and some guidance with visual aids they actually start to enjoy presenting. At the end of the day, if you’re enthusiastic about what you do, people can’t help but listen to your story.”
The aim of the workshops is to not only create confident, independent and reflective thinkers but to equip them with skills to tackle difficult subjects and audiences. In the safety of a controlled environment new YFCs are challenged.
“It says something about the YFCs that one of the most requested training sessions is the one that is designed to be the most uncomfortable. It is awesome to work with a group of young people who are always looking to step up to new challenges,” Greg says. “The ‘Dealing with Difficult Questions’ session is designed to put YFCs in a very uncomfortable and unrelenting situation where they are challenged to answer some of the most difficult questions of agriculture in a high-pressure environment. It gives them the opportunity to practice their communication skills while getting candid feedback on their performance and they gain the confidence to handle any of the real-life situations they may encounter.”
Lucy Collingridge was one YFC to take on Greg’s session in a mock interview with The Land journalist Alex Druce.
“Due to the topic being a highly contentious and emotional issue in regional NSW, I was initially nervous about my replies to Alex’s questions,” Lucy says. “However, I remember as the interview went on and I became more comfortable with using my own experiences to answer questions, I became more confident in myself. In the end, I really enjoyed the interview and being challenged on the topic, as well as being given the opportunity to share my experiences.”
Completion of the workshops leads to YFCs entering schools with The Archibull Prize to put their new skills to the test for the first time as they stand in front of students and teachers. And from here the opportunities are endless. YFCs go on to speak at industry conferences, to the media, to give TEDx presentations, to engage with the public at agricultural shows, to speak eloquently to politicians and to put their hands up for any chance to share their messages.
Lucy now conducts media interviews in her job with NSW Local Land Services and knows the training she has received has given her the skills to tackle contentious issues with confidence.
PhD student at Murdoch University in Perth and YFC, Calum Watt is another who credits the training with helping his career. As a barley researcher Calum is regularly called upon to present his findings to industry conferences.
“I feel confident speaking generally,” he says, “and I feel practice is a critical part in getting it right and reducing nerves. The YFC workshops have helped me articulate my thoughts far better than before.”
Perhaps the best example of how YFC creates confidence to share comes from Jo Newton who has spoken at national and international events and who recently discussed her career journey in her first podcast with Josh Farr on The Campus Experience. In the 40 minute interview Jo discussed her involvement with Enactus, while studying at the University of New England, and with Young Farming Champions and told of her journey from a nervous presenter with palm cards to today’s confident alumni who walks about the stage without any notes.
As always, Jo paid tribute to the YFC program in the podcast.
“It’s a pretty special experience getting to work alongside these tireless, passionate, dedicated young people where we have common values and shared passion,” she said. “I feel like every day I open up my emails and see another fantastic achievement of one of our team and it fills me with so much pride to see these other young change-makers standing up for what they believe in and going out and making a difference.”
Josh identified the top quotes from Jo’s interview as
Saying thank you isn’t enough for the opportunities you can have as a young person.
In Australia less than 1 in 3 leadership positions are held by women. In agriculture its less than 1 in 7 leadership positions held by women.
I got real world project management experience hosting an event for 300 people & bringing 20 companies to Armidale. These practical real-world skills help you stand out when you’re looking for a grad job.
We’re a group of students. We’ve discovered that we don’t really know what we’re going to be next year & we’d like to change that. This is what we’re going to do.
I said yes to any opportunity to get up in front of people. The nerves are still there & now I see them as a good thing. A colleague said, “The butterflies are a good thing, because it means I care & if I ever get up in front of people to speak & I don’t have that’s when I’ll worry because it means I’ve stopped caring.”
If you equip a whole team & bring the whole team on the journey you are paying it forward by giving other young people access to opportunity & they pay it forward again & you have this amazing ripple effect.
and the statistics show that impact the Young Farming Champions and the programs they are delivering have
Do you want to have the confidence to share your agricultural story?
Applications for the 2019 YFC program are now open. Find out more here
Application Closing Date 4th April 2019
Contact Program Director Lynne Strong E: email@example.com for an expression of interest form