Out and About: Bush Heritage, Regional Australia Institute and Tech Connect Queensland

The VFFF team loves getting out and about to spend time with our granting partners and sector peers. This quarter, we celebrated young people and heard from the sector about the needs of young people in rural and regional Australia. 

Bush Heritage – Sowing for a future harvest 

In 2022, VFFF kicked off a three year partnership with Bush Heritage to support the launch of the Seeding the Future program which provides structured opportunities for early-career conservationists to gain work experience through internships, traineeships and placements across all areas of Bush Heritage’s work.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of the program, in early September Bush Heritage brought together a group of supporters to showcase the impact achieved to date and share plans for the future. 

The event, held at the State Library of Victoria, gave VFFF Director Sue Cridge the opportunity to meet with and hear from current and former program participants, along with the Bush Heritage team who manage the program.

One of the highlights of the evening for Sue was the presentation by Annabelle Smith, who had the opportunity to intern in the Natural Capital in Agriculture team through the program. After completing both a science and law degree and gaining invaluable experience interning with Bush Heritage, Annabelle is determined to explore how she can become an invincible conservation lawyer. 

Sue was also delighted to meet with the Bush Heritage team delivering the program and hear their passion for the program and their commitment to engaging young people in the journey.

This passion is clearly demonstrated by people like Elisabeth McLellan, who after a long, successful career in conservation, has come back to Bush Heritage to act as the Career Development Mentor, supporting, guiding, and mentoring the next generation of conservation professionals.

VFFF is confident, that the seeds sown today will lead to a successful harvest in the future, not only for Bush Heritage, but for the Australian conservation sector.


VFFF Director Sue CrIdge with Seeding the Future participants (L-R: Eva You, Suzanne Cridge and Annabelle Smith)
VFFF Director Sue CrIdge with Seeding the Future participants (L-R: Eva You, Suzanne Cridge and Annabelle Smith)

Regional Australia Institute - Regions Rising Conference 

VFFF attended the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) Regions Rising National Summit in Canberra from 13-14 September, where RAI CEO, Liz Ritchie, unveiled the Regionalisation Ambition 2032 Year 1 Progress Report which highlights that regional Australia is a better place to live, work and invest than it was 12 months ago. However, housing and growing the regional workforce need urgent focus and are the two areas of weakness hampering the regions. The priorities of young people were discussed, especially education, health and development to match the requirements of the 90,000 jobs that are open in regional Australia. VFFF Youth Advisory Group member, Harrison Garlick was also in attendance and he put his hand up to contribute to solutions addressing systemic disadvantage in regional Australia.

Tech Connect Queensland

VFFF Directors and team visited the Queensland Performing Art Centre (QPAC) in July to see the Tech Connect QLD program in action. Funding of the Tech Connect QLD program was the outcome of a COVID-19 collaboration with the Sidney Myer Fund, Gandel Philanthropy, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and the Ian Potter Foundation in 2022.

The Tech Connect program supports young people to undergo skills training and gain VET qualifications in performing arts venues across Queensland – a collaboration between QPAC, Stage Queensland and the Arts Centre Melbourne, as the lead training partner. Directors met the 12 young people who came from arts venues across QLD for this two-and-a-half-week block training as part of their Cert III in Technical Production. The practical components included learning the QPAC rope flying systems, as well as the lighting and sound systems that lead to the magic you experience during a theatre production.

The trainees were so engaged in the training and excited for the diverse range of employment pathways this program opens for them.

Tech Connect QLD trainees learning the rope flying systems at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Tech Connect QLD trainees learning the rope flying systems at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre

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