Training community leaders

Sjanna SandalovaGreat Southern Herald

A fresh course to help train the leaders of not-for-profit groups was held for the first time in Katanning last week.

The course, run through Regional Development Australia and by Australian Institute of Company Directors, was held on February 25 and 26.

“We think this is a tremendous opportunity to get people from different not-for-profit organisations throughout the region and to upskill their knowledge and ability to perform on their boards or committees,” RDA executive officer for the Great Southern Simon Lyas said.

“It’s really a way for people to get more of professional development and to understand their roles and responsibilities.”

This is the first time this course has been available to this part of the region, with courses previously held in Albany and Perth.

According to Mr Lyas, there was a huge demand from local communities and organisations to facilitate a course like this.

“We specifically chose to do it here in Katanning to reach the inland towns and organisations,” he said.

“We were over-subscribed, with 40 responses for 25 places, so there is definitely a need in the community for this type of upskilling and training.”

Katanning Senior High School chairman Ian Hanna said the course allowed him to be able to share his knowledge and try and educate other members on the committee.

“Having to run a board with pretty much no experience is hard and you have to start on a blank canvas, so through this course we can learn about responsibilities and how to mitigate risk and to understand the roles,” Mr Hanna said.

“It is great for us who are able to do the course, but there’s so many other committee members out there who have missed out, so it’s important we try and spread that knowledge.”

Course facilitator Peter Fitzpatrick, who was brought in by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, stressed how important it was that all board, council and committee directors understood their true responsibilities.

“Being a director is a real specialist skill and sometimes people make the assumption that you can just sit on the board with no training and that can be dangerous because it can lead to problems and financial liabilities that the director can be held accountable for,” he said.

“These are the leaders of the community and this way we can run stronger organisations to better support the community with better services.”

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