Now in it’s eighth year, RHASS is delighted to support the programme, which helps young farmers develop their leadership and business skills.

The SAYFC’s 2022/23 Cultivating Leaders programme, which began in October 2022, has been a huge success for the Association and the individuals who have taken part. Exploring a wide variety of topics to prepare participants for a career in the agri sector, the programme covers:

  • Leadership – What is it and have you got the qualities?
  • Vision and goals – Where do you want to be and where are you now?
  • Succession – Are you in the position to be able to make the decisions you need to make, have you a difficult conversation to have?
  • Business – Cash flows, accounts, budgets, understanding the market-place.
  • Practical – Actually filling out a farm business tenancy application – completing a bank loan application – drawing up a business plan to present to partners and the bank manager.
  • Farm/Industry visit – A mixture of farm visits where they will see leadership in action.
  • Conclusion – Are you a leader?

Peter Moss, Orkney YFC said,


The Cultivating Leaders programme was of huge value to me, not just on a business level but on a personal level as well. The course made you look inwards at how to identify personal strengths and weaknesses, and how to develop growth opportunities in ourselves and businesses.

“Being in a small group of like-minded peers allowed us to share our experiences and Heather’s driving enthusiasm and ability to get even the quietest of people to open up made for an encouraging atmosphere that helped us all get the most from the sessions.

The professional advice from accountants, solicitors and bank managers gave us insights into things that you only usually learn from experience (at which point it is too late).

Also, the visits to meet entrepreneurs forging their own paths were of huge value, showcasing that there are different ways to get ahead in the industry, rather than just the conventional route.

Programme facilitator, Heather Wildman said,


It is such a privilege getting to work with the group – seeing them on day one nervous, unsure and quiet and then opening up and growing as the course develops and they get to know each other better, are challenged by the speakers and professionals and set tasks to complete.

“It is really rewarding meeting past delegates at shows and events and seeing how their careers and lives have grown and changed – taking steps that they have had the courage to make thanks to this programme.


David Bennie, Callander YFC

The Cultivating Leaders Programme introduced me to a group of like-minded
individuals who wanted to better themselves and their careers in the rural sector. It was
great to hear that some of the barriers I face in my career were shared by the group and
solutions were found collectively. I feel the course enhanced my knowledge of business
management, dealing with succession, goal setting and working with staff.

“The course content was pitched at anunderstandable level by professionals who
are experts in their fields. The farm visits showcased rural, innovative businesses which
have driven themselves forward, to create sustainable futures. I would thoroughly
recommend the course to anyone; it is worth it for the craic alone!


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