Developing the industry’s facilitators

// Extension

Following the conclusion of the Red Meat Profit Partnership Programme (RMPP), Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) adopted the facilitation learning and change workshops to continue supporting rural professionals and rural leaders.

image of rural facilitators in workshop

Through the workshop, participants gain an understanding of what facilitation is all about and learn the skills required to effectively facilitate groups and learning.

So far, B+LNZ held six workshops across the country in the last 12 months and all workshops have been fully booked with waitlists. There are another six workshops planned. Some workshops have been catered to include internal programmes for businesses such as district councils who see benefits in developing their staff to be able to effectively work with rural groups like local catchments.

B+LNZ’s National Extension Programme Manager Olivia Weatherburn works alongside skilled and experienced facilitator Lab Wilson from Bats Inc to deliver the workshops. 

“We see building rural professionals and rural leaders’ facilitation skills a key enabler to be able to have constructive conversations across the wider food and fibre sector and engage more farmers in industry conversations,” she says.

“The true understanding of facilitation is something many people struggle with, and this practical programme ensures that participants not only share the experiences and knowledge they already have with each other but also get the chance to practice new tools and refine their own events.”

“These skills will enable facilitators to work with farmers and rural communities to help them build the confidence they need to increase and support practice change across the red meat sector. This fits with B+LNZ’s Farming Excellence Strategy and our vision of profitable farmers, thriving rural communities, valued by all New Zealanders.”

The five workshops were held in Dunedin, Napier, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Wellington and Timaru.

Each intake has a capacity of 15 people, considering RMPP’s findings that small group learning settings return better results for all involved. 

After completion of the workshop, participants gain access to additional learning opportunities to ensure continuous learning and development.

Hear what participants have to say

“The facilitation programme gave me a lot of useful tools to use when working with groups of people. I have been able to use these tools with farmer groups, but also colleagues and community groups. Knowing how to extract ideas from everyone in the group has led to better and more inclusive discussions. I like that there are different ways to get ideas from the quiet people in the group without making them feel self-conscious. This training would benefit anyone who is part of or works with groups.” – Donna Hamilton, Veterinarian, Vet South.

“The B+LNZ Facilitating Learning and Change Programme is a “must attend” for anyone who works to empower groups in skills development and growth through change. It provides facilitators with the tools to allow group participation in their own learning and removes the “them and us” barrier from old the presenter/audience model. This programme has real world application for Industry leaders, Rural Professionals and Scientists. The best 2 days of skills development I have experienced in 20 years.” – Keith Wright, Ag Consultant.

“I found this course very valuable for learning different facilitation techniques and when to use them along with understanding the difference between facilitating, presenting and teaching. I have found I use a lot of what I learnt on the course in my day to day work, not just in my facilitation of activities.” – Sarah O’Connell, The AgriBusiness Group.