A new $40,000 training program aims to empower LGBTQI people in the Shepparton region to become leaders across the community.

Shepparton social support group Goulburn Valley Pride has launched a callout for applicants to take part in FLEDGE – Founding Leadership with an Edge, a 12 month training program covering key leadership skills.

Goulburn Valley Pride treasurer Damien Stevens-Todd said the program, funded through a Victorian state government grant, will help fill a gap in the diversity of local leaders.

“Over the next 12 months we hope to engage up to 15 local LGBTI emerging leaders to hold leadership training sessions on areas around community project management, governance, understanding finance, and looking at supporting volunteers,” Stevens-Todd said.

“So hopefully we’ll have ten people working across the region in the LGBTI space in a variety of mainstream roles – just as we do in LGBTI specific roles – ensuring that diversity and inclusion is carried across all sectors and workplaces in the region.”

The training program will begin with a retreat or workshop training day followed by regular training sessions over six to eight weeks, with successful participants assisted in taking on leadership roles.

Stevens-Todd said he was particularly interested in hearing from applicants who often feel these opportunities are “not for them”.

“There’s many very well meaning and very humble and modest people who think ‘oh, there’s only ten or 15 positions, I’ll leave them to other people who deserve them’,” Stevens-Todd said.

“Everybody who lives in our region and who is LGBTI is absolutely deserving we want all people to embrace this opportunity.”

Interested LGBTQI locals in the Greater Shepparton region are encouraged to apply at www.gvpride.org/fledge

Applications are open until August 16.

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