After a successful run at Spurn Bird Observatory, the Young Leaders Course (YLC) has moved to Cameron’s Cottage, a facility ideally suited to educate and entertain.
With the change in venue came some changes in the programme; lecturers from a range of backgrounds and sectors were invited to deliver talks and presentations to the 12 participants who had been carefully selected for the course. One of the key aims of the YLC is to make clear to participants how they can move into leadership positions, even if they are not yet at the CEO level. The sheer wealth of expertise on offer made the course hugely valuable for those wanting to forge a career in this area.
The course was hosted by Faye Vogely who is Youth Entertainment Manager at the BTO. She was ably supported by youth staff member Rachael Griffiths and youth volunteer Mya Bambrick. There was a very busy programme with lectures and sessions from 9am until 6pm. Faye led practical sessions on delivering presentations, CVs and job applications, giving guided walks, and running successful meetings. Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link focused on negotiating and influencing with his interactive workshops showing participants how they can influence others by using effective storytelling and understanding people.
“A huge thank you to the incredible staff and people supporting the course. It has been a valuable week, where I learned priceless lessons which I will carry with me throughout my career, and personal life.”
Dr Anjana Khatwa, Earth Scientist and EDI specialist, focused on creating inclusive communities and understanding how to be an ethical leader. Her workshop forced participants to think about their own privilege and how to use it as a leader. Jack Baker, Pangolin Podcast creator and PhD student talked about the importance of communicating effectively as a leader, and showing the different ways we can communicate to different audiences. Helen Robinson and Paul Walton from New Forest National Park Authority looked at the importance of partnership working and how leaders need to be able to understand the needs of different stakeholders.
Social activities were not neglected; ice breaker games were played at the start of the programme to help people get to know each other and after dinner each night camp fire games were played and evening walks undertaken. In addition attendees were given the opportunity to go birdwatching before and after the programme each day. This was an offer that was eagerly taken up. RSPB staff joined the course at times during the four days to talk about life as wardens and demonstrate bats in the hand as part of a ringing programme.
The feedback for the course has been overwhelmingly positive. All sessions were well received and were found to have relevant elements that will help participants in their career. Most of the participants reported that their confidence increased during the four days and said they recognised that their self-worth was key for successful leadership.