One of the world’s leading rural leadership courses is celebrating the conclusion of another successful year.The Challenge of Rural Leadership course, now in its 24th year, was lauded by delegates and organisers.

Managed by the Rural Business School (RBS) at Duchy College, part of The Cornwall College Group, on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Farmers, delegates from across the globe came to Dartington Hall in Devon to undertake the intensive and rewarding programme.

They have returned to their businesses with new found confidence and skills to enable them to thrive in an ever-changing agricultural industry, according to Director of RBS, Richard Soffe.

“It was great to work with another outstanding group of international, high potential managers on the Challenge of Rural Leadership this year, as well as using WH Bond as a local case study,” he explained.

The Worshipful Company of Farmers chair of education Richard Davies, along with the Master David Bolton and other members of the company, joined the course for several sessions. Everyone was impressed with the beautiful Dartington Hall, and the enthusiasm of the delegates.

Two Nuffield scholars from Australia were in attendance, along with the Head of Arable for AHDB, and the Agriculture Consultant for McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd.

“Our very own degree students got the opportunity to listen to guest speaker Professor Allan Buckwell do a session on Climate Change and another on Sustainable Food Systems,” Richard added.

The first week of the course formed a case study that focused on a local business. The delegates had an overview of every process that currently makes the business work.

During the second week, the focus turned to the individual. There were sessions on psychometrics, the media, time-management and how to present yourself under scrutiny. There were also a large range of guest speakers, all of whom brought a unique perspective on their own paths to leadership.

Farmer, parish councillor and Natural England sector lead, Martin Hoddinott, said: “The confidence and inspiration the Duchy College team have shown us is a complete life changer for me and I’m fairly sure I can speak for every member of our group.”

Assurance Manager with LEAF, Jennifer Clark, said the course “has impacts that cannot be adequately put into words”.

Richard said he was greatly looking forward to the 25th Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Challenge of Rural Leadership.

“The application process has just reopened on the Rural Business School website,” he added.