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Are you looking to lead?

January 8, 2019 by Shelby Baile

Are you looking to lead?

Are you interested in furthering your leadership development and giving back to your local community? Maybe you want to gain some real life project and event management experience while developing new friendships with students from other disciplines. If so, the John Curtin Leadership Academy might just be the perfect fit for you.

JCLA is a year-long co-curricular program that aims to help students build the skills to identify their strengths, collaborate, problem solve and communicate effectively while creating positive social change. JCLA is big on teamwork and you will have the opportunity to improve your understanding of working in diverse thinking groups and in partnership with community not-for-profit and for-purpose organisations.

The program is open to undergrads and postgrads, but you must be doing well academically. You’ll need to provide your most recent academic transcript along with your application.

We spoke to Lily, a second year Health Promotion student and 2018 JCLA graduate, to hear what she thought of the program:

I’ve always wanted to develop my leadership skills – I wanted a challenge. I’d always heard about JCLA and have seen a lot of friends go through it – I was ready to sign up. In the beginning, there were a lot of changes and it can be challenging trying to strive for a work life balance.

The JCLA Retreat was intense as you were put into a group with thirty strangers – all from different backgrounds and disciplines. But it was a great way to meet everyone and the team building workshops were fantastic!

My group’s community partnership was unique, and quite challenging.  I’ve always been drawn to health related projects and it was really interesting to work on an environmental project like this. I was responsible for working on assessing and improving our partner’s social media engagement strategies. Some of my other team members were responsible for setting up events and liaising with teachers, students, parents, and even the Water Corp. The tasks continued to evolve and some of the team has even stayed on and continued to work with the community group.

My advice to other students would be to just apply and see where it takes you… It can be daunting but in the end you realise that you’ve achieved so much.”

Danie, an Economics and International Relations student in his final semester, was also excited to share his experience as part of JCLA.

One of the main reasons I joined JCLA was to develop my confidence in project management and event planning while working with fellow students on a real world community project. At the beginning of the program we went on the Leadership Retreat; which was a very immersive experience. During this time we were able to get to know each other, learn problem solving and communication skills, share our diverse backgrounds and weave them into our vision. It was a very intensive but ultimately rewarding experience that set the foundation for our project.

We were partnered with Epilepsy WA – a small but emerging not-for-profit that helps support West Australians living with epilepsy. My experience was exceedingly positive and we were given so much support and mentorship from our community partner throughout the year.

JCLA has done a lot to improve my employability skills and has developed my diversity of thought and ability to work in a diverse group. It allowed me to branch out and helped me learn adaptability and resourcefulness. Even though I don’t have a marketing background I was tasked as my team’s Marketing Officer. I learnt a lot of new skills which have already helped me secure another job in Marketing.

Ultimately, JCLA has changed how I view work and taught me not dismiss new ideas and others’ perspectives. The advice I would give to students thinking about joining JCLA is to just:

  • Be passionate and curious
  • Be open-minded and embrace the fact that things will go differently than how you think
  • Embrace the change and just enjoy the experience.

JCLA is a unique experience that allows Curtin students to learn valuable collaborative leadership skills while working in diverse teams to give back to the community.

One final piece of advice from Lily – “When heading to the retreat don’t forget to bring lollies!”

So what are you waiting for? If you’re thinking about applying for the JCLA program, online applications for 2019 are open until 9am Monday 21January.

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