A potential partnership will help Ballarat’s largest leadership body increase the diversity of its graduates.
Leadership Ballarat and Western Region (LBWR) applied for a three-year strategic partnership with City of Ballarat, with council officers recommending the organisation receive more than $40,000 each year.
The funding will contribute to the group’s travel to Canberra, to learn about politics and advocacy, two scholarships for those unable to afford the program, and community leadership days.
Leadership Ballarat and Western Region CEO Michelle Whyte said that “not everyone can afford to do the program, or work for an employer who can afford to pay” for the leadership course.
“Two new scholarships would mean the program would be more diverse, giving a really broad range of people the chance to influence each other and the community,” she said.
“We will also spend some time to make ourselves more financially sustainable, piloting smaller programs and developing further into the future.”
LBWR has been operating for 13 years, with 349 graduates of their programs, many of whom go on to perform in volunteer programs. The Leaders Forum, a 10-month leadership course, costs around $6,000.
The financial impact of all of LBWR’s volunteer hours, assigned a value $45 per hour, was calculated at $12,399,007 in 2017.
In a report to be tabled at the next council meeting, council officers stated that “47.37% of LBWR graduates indicate that they increased their volunteer hours by 50 per cent” after completing the annual Leaders Forum.
Ms Whyte said the program was all about encouraging people to understand that complex issues – like homeslessness, food insecurity and long-term unemployment – influence each other.
In having a broad lived experience, and understanding of the complexities of these issues, we starting asking what can we do as individuals to effect change?Leadership Ballarat and Western Region CEO Michelle Whyte
“It’s easy to say, ‘oh, that’s the responsibility of local councils or state government.’
“But we want to empower people to see what their responsibility is and what they can do as a person.”
A decision on the strategic partnership will be made at the December 12 ordinary council meeting.
In return for the cash support, City of Ballarat will receive a free place for one of its employees on the 10-month leadership program, and naming rights for the scholarships.