A national program that offers Australians inspiring opportunities to travel overseas and investigate a topic or issue they are passionate about will run an information session at the Armidale City Bowling Club on Tuesday night.
Churchill Fellowships are open to anyone who would like to see what other countries are doing successfully in a similar field, to inspire new ideas and innovation that will benefit Australia.
Since Sir Winston Churchill’s death in 1965, they have given ordinary people from participating countries the opportunity to travel overseas to meet others and learn.
About 100 Churchill Fellowships are awarded annually, including some related specifically to agriculture, health, education, the environment, and the arts.
“While anyone can apply,” said Churchill Trust CEO Adam Davey, “this year we are making a concerted effort to encourage more applications from rural and regional Australians keen to explore issues relevant to their local community, industry, or profession.
To support this effort, information sessions will be held in 16 regional centres, including Armidale, on Tuesday, March 6.
The evening will be led by Ian Krimmer, Churchill Fellows Association of NSW president. Retired fire superintendent Krimmer was the media officer for over 20 years at Fire & Rescue NSW. He recently left the organisation after more than 40 years of service. Mr Krimmer received a Fellowship in 1992 to visit the UK and US to investigate fire education programs for children.
Other speakers include Grant Wargren, vice president of the Association, who visited the UK, Singapore, and the USA to investigate online learning tools; Bernard Shakeshaft, founder and manager of Armidale-based youth program Backdraft, who examined programs supporting at-risk youth in Canada and the US; and award-winning teacher Nicolette Wheaton, who went to the US to study engagement of students in science.
“We hope people who live and work in the area will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more first-hand about Churchill Fellowships and how to put together a successful application,” Mr Davey said.
No prescribed qualifications are necessary to apply, and the subject of the proposed project is limitless. Applicants must, however, demonstrate that they have exhausted available options in Australia for learning more; that there are clear potential benefits to their sector or community; and that they are willing to share the knowledge gained.
“What is great about a Churchill Fellowship,” Mr Davey said, “is that it allows the applicant to create their own project, so they can address what is most important and beneficial for their area of interest, and that often aligns with issues of local, regional or national importance.”
“While you could research what is happening overseas online, returning Fellows consistently report that it is invaluable to fully immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and experiences, and that the relationships formed through this journey are often lasting. Because the Fellowships are held in such high regard around the world, travelling as a Churchill Fellow also opens doors to access expertise that is typically not available.”
Churchill Fellows come from all walks of life; some are experienced veterans in their field, and others are ambitious people forging new directions. “The common denominators,” Mr Davey said, “are a genuine passion for their area of interest, and drive to make a difference.”
The Armidale information session will be held at the Armidale City Bowling Club, from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm. Entry is free, but registration is essential, via www.churchilltrust.com/events.
People can also follow the Churchill Trust on Facebook for advice about a live Q&A to be held in late March. More information is also available by visiting www.churchillfellowships.com.au.
Applications close April 27, for travel between February 2019 and January 2020.