On Saturday 16 September, City of Greater Bendigo Intercultural Ambassadors and Youth Councillors came together to participate in Step Up training facilitated by Natalie Walker from the Victorian Local Government Association (VLGA).
Seven Intercultural Ambassadors and six Youth Councillors learnt about inclusive leadership and governance in a workshop that blended theory, real-life examples, and personal stories.
The day began with a discussion about self-reflection and identity. Participants explored what they share publicly and what they keep private. They looked at examples of politicians who balance personal and public personas. The workshop encouraged participants to think about their values and share stories illustrating those values.
The workshop then shifted to the importance of representation in governance. Participants discussed how to interact with people who have different ideas and values. They also talked about the need to make compromises and how it affects one's identity in public service.
Leadership was the central theme of the training. Participants were prompted to consider their leadership styles, recognizing that leadership can take various forms. They explored what leadership means to them and how their unique styles could shape their future roles.
After a satisfying lunch, the focus turned to the practical side of pursuing a role in governance. Participants learned how to engage effectively with their communities, learnt the do's and don'ts of public service, and explored the importance of being well-rounded leaders. They even crafted stump speeches to showcase their passion for leadership.
The final session concentrated on campaigning. Participants learned about building networks, understanding their support base, and becoming prominent community figures. Natalie Walker emphasized that everyone was already on a leadership journey and encouraged them to take action.
The day ended with participants leaving with workbooks filled with questions to guide them on their journey toward community or public leadership roles. Natalie Walker's workshop not only provided practical knowledge and skills but also inspired proactive leadership committed to diversity and inclusivity in governance. The Intercultural Ambassadors and Youth Councillors left with newfound confidence and enthusiasm, showcasing the power of education and inspiration in nurturing future leaders.
The training undoubtedly left a lasting impact, setting these emerging leaders on a path to make positive changes in their communities and beyond. Afterwards, some of the attendees shared their thoughts on the day:
Youth Mayor Ryan Peterson said: “The leadership and governance training was a fantastic opportunity to meet the Intercultural Ambassadors and a great chance for all of us to understand what drives us to lead and represent our communities, as well as build on our skills. Going forward, I plan to use what I’ve learned today in future leadership and governance roles, as I’ll now be better equipped for them after this VLGA session.
Intercultural Ambassador Yadwinder Singh said: “Thank you for connecting us to such a valuable session today. It is great to learn about leadership skills which can and will help all of us to enhance our organisations and promote our values.”
Deputy Youth Mayor Lilly Correll said: “The atmosphere was positive and encouraging. You could see everyone in the room was learning which fostered such a positive environment. The VLGA leadership training is another great step in upskilling and enhancing Youth Councillors to have the confidence to one day run for local government.”