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Launch Of 2008/09 Rural Leadership Programme

14th October 2008

Scottish Enterprise (SE) in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are launching the successful Rural Leadership Programme (RLP) for the third consecutive year. Recruitment is taking place immediately, with the programme running throughout the winter/spring of 2008/09 and a follow up conference completing the programme to take place in early summer 2009.

The RLP aims to equip future rural leaders with a set of leadership tools designed to help their businesses lead the way to success and enable them to carry on contributing to the Scottish rural economy. Those encouraged to apply are farm and rural business managers and key personnel from across Scotland who are enthusiastic about improving their leadership skills.

Sixty delegates took park in the RLP in 2007/08, in four regional groups. This was after a successful pilot programme in 2006. The programme was considered by all those involved to be such a success that SE, this year in partnership with HIE, are running another four groups. One group will be held in the HIE area and three across the SE area.

For Michael Shannon, of Lanarkshire, taking part in the RLP last year completely changed his business. He began RLP as a full time employee and by the end of the course he had set up his own internet beef, lamb and pork sales business.

Michael said "Meeting the wide range of interesting people, delegates, facilitators and speakers alike, who were willing to challenge the norm, ask questions and ruffle a few feathers, was the most stimulating experience. The whole programme was absolutely worth every penny and every minute spent on it."

When Christo Shepherd, in Aberdeenshire, received the information on RLP he was taken with the opportunity to find out about the political scene.

Christo said "Learning how to access both information and people of influence in different spheres and the visits to Holyrood, Brussels and Westminster to see how they all operate, the demarcation between different parliaments and how they work together were real highlights!"

Hugh Broad of East Lothian said "The one and two day chunks which RLP was delivered in worked well for me. It meant I was never away from the business for too long and the broken up nature of the course also meant I had time to digest one set of information and its implications before the next was introduced."

For an application form or to find out more about this year's Rural Leadership Programme please contact:

Programme Director
Smiths Gore
Matthew Currie or Judith Hutchison
Smiths Gore, 28 Castle Street,
Dumfries DG1 1DG.
T 01387 263 066
E matthew.currie[AT]

Programme Facilitator
Rural Development Company
John Grieve
T 01370 850 470
E john[AT]

Scottish Enterprise
Project Manager
Christine Swalwell
Scottish Enterprise
T 01896 758 991
E Christine.swalwell[AT],uk

Highlands and Island Enterprise
Project Manager
Anne Ross
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
T – 01463 244 336
M – anne.ross[AT]

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is the Scottish Government's regional development agency for an area which covers half of Scotland, from Shetland to Argyll and from the Outer Hebrides to Moray. Visit for more information.

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main enterprise, innovation and investment agency and is focused on supporting business growth and developing a competitive business environment. Working in partnership with industry, academia and the public sector, SE aims to play its part in delivering the Scottish Government's new economic strategy to increase productivity in Scotland by helping businesses grow, encouraging greater innovation and creating the right conditions for companies to access property, markets and finance.

Further information can be found at


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