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Horizons – International Engagement Leadership Program

The Horizons – International Engagement Leadership Program is delivered by The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in partnership with The Regional Australia Institute (RAI).

Horizons is designed to equip economic development officers with a better understanding of how to help local Australian business harness trade and investment opportunities.

This free program has been held twice a year in 2021 and 2022 and consists of interactive online sessions and masterclasses facilitated by a range of industry and government trade experts. Participants also have access to mentoring and networking opportunities that are tailored to each participant’s goals.

Program participants automatically become members of the exclusive Horizons alumni, connecting them to a vast network of national and international organisations.

Selection criteria

Successful applicants will:

  • Be employed by regional and rural shire councils, chambers of commerce or economic development organisations that are not linked to federal and state agencies.
  • Have a sound knowledge of economic development, with a demonstrated ability to effectively apply this knowledge.
  • Have a demonstrated experience in being proactive in their region and its development.
  • Have experience in business / project management roles that require the ability to set goals and objectives to achieve short-term and long-term results.
  • Have a desire to improve their leadership skills in international trade, investment and tourism for the well-being of their regional community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply for the Horizons program?

Individuals in economic development roles within regional and rural shire council, chambers of commerce and economic development organisations are encouraged to apply.

We are looking for a diversity of leaders who are interested in connecting with others and gaining the necessary tools to achieve their goals in their region.

How do I apply for the Horizons program?

Tell us about your experience in economic development, your current role, and your vision for your region.

Your application should include a short introduction answering the following four questions and responding to the selection criteria, as well as your CV and/or LinkedIn profile support material.

  • Who are you, and why do you do what you do?
  • How have you explored and developed ways to promote your region so far?
  • How do you see your role as an advocate for your region?
  • Why this program, and why now?

Apply now.

How is the program structured?

By participating in the program, you are committing to:

  • A mix of online sessions and masterclasses (12.5 hours in total)
  • Online team catch-ups (4 x 1 hour)
  • Mentor meetings (2 x meetings)
  • The project (minimum investment of 10-15 hours)

In-person alumni get-togethers are covered by the program, but do not include travel and accommodation costs.

What does the development of an International Engagement Strategy entail?

The international engagement strategy is an end-of-program evaluation tool that you develop to actively apply the lessons of the program to your region. As an exercise, the strategy can have, but does not require your organisation’s backing. It does, however, require out-of-the-box thinking and the application of the program’s learnings to your specific region.

Through the program, you will receive guidance to develop a pitch, then you will meet with a mentor to flesh out your ideas and test whether or not they are applicable to your region. You will meet with your mentor a second time once you have drafted your strategy, to review content before submission to a judging panel.

You will also be expected to submit your pitch in video form – editing skills are not required – to present your ideas to the cohort. Support will be provided along the way!

What does it take to join the Horizons alumni?

A badge of successful completion is distributed to all those who follow the online sessions, meet with their mentors, actively engage with the facilitators and other participants, and develop an international development strategy that is evaluated by the judging panel at the end of the program.

What are the benefits of being a part of the Horizons alumni?

Being a part of the Horizons alumni is being connected to a vast network of national and international organisations. It provides you with the opportunity to meet other leaders in economic development roles across the nation, and to exchange knowledge and tools. Your strategy will be presented to a vast range of actors in the field who will support you during and after the completion of the program in the expansion of your horizons.

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