Grant Melrose, who oversees continuous improvement management for vertically integrated processor John Dee in Queensland, has always lived and breathed agribusiness. But like so many in the sector, his early training was informal, learning from those who went before. About five years back he set himself on a path to formal learning – and it’s led him to the most interesting places.
He was completing a subject on entrepreneurship as part of his Masters in Agribusiness when he heard about the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. His interest was piqued and before he knew it, he’d applied to participate in the next round of the foundation’s renowned experiential training program.
What followed was an experience he says was literally life changing. As the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) prepares to announce its program scholarship winner for the next course of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, Grant says the next winner can expect to leave the program a changed person, too.
Why this program?
The program is different from other agri or leadership courses because it is not based in the classroom. Instead, 30 participants complete a series of sessions over 15 months, including a ‘self discovery’ session in the Kimberley and an overseas session.
“What’s incredible about this program is that each person takes away something different,” Grant says. “It’s an experiential program, with no set structure, no classes.”
He says the initial two weeks in the Kimberley has impacted every part of his personal and professional life.
“You arrive with no expectations and you’re basically removed from society for two weeks of complete self-reflection and 100% focus. And you walk away with a massive change in mindset.”
For Grant, the big lesson was about seeking to understand before seeking to be understood, while the practical benefit has been a sharpened ability to make decisions.
Making the most of it
For the new scholarship winner, Grant has some simple advice: take every opportunity.
“Don’t go into it with any benchmarks or expectations. Immerse yourself, embrace it, take every opportunity that is presented to you.”
The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation will shortly announce the successful applicants for course 26 of the program, including the winner of the $50,000 AMPC scholarship. Keep an eye out for the announcement soon!