Rural leadership programme

Are you a business manager with company and employees based in a rural location? Want to develop your leadership skills and grow your business? Our Rural Leadership Programme is for you - apply by 31 August 2018.

What's it about?

Are you an ambitious farmer, rural business manager or employee involved in running or working in a small to medium-sized business in Scotland?

  • Are you looking to develop your leadership skills and grow your business?
  • Do you want to do something positive for your sector or rural Scotland?
  • Do you think you are you too busy to take time off to develop your skills?

If your answers are yes, then our Rural Leadership Programme is absolutely right for you. This unique and challenging programme is delivered on behalf of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise by SAC Consulting. 

Join us by applying for a place on the eleventh run of a programme that now has a network of over 500 graduates, including farmers, vets, estate managers, tourism managers, and managers from processing and supply businesses.  



John Armstrong_Laggan Outdoors.jpg

Who's it for?

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have joined forces to fund another three year run of this unique and challenging programme, which is aimed at business managers and employees from rural businesses who have a desire to develop their skills and grow their business.

Facilitators SAC Consulting are leading the drive to recruit 45 applicants from the Scottish Enterprise area and 15 applicants from the HIE area for a 6 month series of workshops and events running from late October 2018 to early March 2019.

There are no boundaries to application – we have had everything from young people early in their careers to managing directors. The main requirement is ambition and a strong desire to improve your business and the rural sector.

Priority will be given to those involved in small to medium-sized rural enterprises.

Feedback and benefits

Feedback on recent programmes has been excellent. The impact of this group of highly motivated rural leaders has been recognised by government and other rural institutions.

However, the real impact has been the significant transformation of many graduates’ businesses:

  • Gaining the confidence to make bold decisions
  • Taking a step back to concentrate on leading as well as managing
  • Changing roles and delegating to others
  • Resolving family issues that hold businesses back
  • Taking on an important role within the sector
  • Lobbying parliament to change legislation
  • Unrivalled networking opportunity with other like-minded, ambitious people
Russell Fair_Nick Bannerman_Graham Wilson_Johnstons of Elgin.jpg
Laggan Outdoors_029.jpg

2018-19 programme

Thirteen days of activities between late October 2018 and March 2019.

These include:

  • Leadership coaching workshops
  • One-to-one business focus sessions
  • Business Strategy workshop
  • Team working on rural innovation projects
  • Learning journeys to Edinburgh, Brussels and London parliaments

Participants will initially join 4 regional groups around:

  • Highland (Inverness)
  • North East (Banchory)
  • East and South East (near Edinburgh)
  • South West Scotland (near Ayr)

Then join one large group for later workshops and learning journeys.

Fees and how to apply

The bulk of the costs are covered by Scottish Enterprise and HIE, with participant fees set at £900 +VAT - described by many programme graduates as “the best money we have ever spent”.

Recognising the potential barrier to participation in the programme for island-based applicants, HIE will reimburse the full costs of the best value and most efficient ferries or flights to the mainland, for successful HIE-based participants. 

Applications must be submitted by Friday 31 August 2018.

To apply for this year’s programme, or discuss your eligibility, contact Aileen Carr at SAC Consulting.


Call: 01307 464033


Looking to speak to an expert?

Ask us how the Rural Leadership Programme can help you succeed.