Country to Canberra entries are open for 2017

Power trip: The 2016 finalists of the Country to Canberra competition celebrate their arrival at Parliament House. Entries are now open for 2017.
Power trip: The 2016 finalists of the Country to Canberra competition celebrate their arrival at Parliament House. Entries are now open for 2017.

AT LEAST 10 young rural trailblazers will have an opportunity to win a once-in-a-lifetime 'power trip' to the nation's capital through an initiative launched this week.

Now in its fourth year, Country to Canberra’s prestigious 2017 Leadership Competition will award young women with a chance to rub shoulders with politicians and CEOs, leadership and public speaking training, a tour of Parliament House and much more.

Country to Canberra CEO Hannah Wandel says it’s about showing girls there is no limit to what they can achieve.

“From Julie Bishop to Tanya Plibersek, our past winners have met with inspiring leaders, built confidence and have gone on to make an incredible impact in their local communities,” she said.

“The ‘power trip’ prize is also an amazing opportunity to connect with other young rural go-getters.”

To enter, Country to Canberra is asking girls to submit a two-minute video or 400 words answering the question: “from primary school to Prime Minister, how can we create strong pathways to power for women?”

Ms Wandel said only 25 per cent of ASX 200 board positions were held by women and only 32 per cent of federal politicians are female.

“We want to change this by empowering students and giving them an opportunity to come up with innovative solutions,” she said.

“We also know that distance, time and funding barriers can make life tough for rural students.

“Through our competition and prize, we provide access to training and mentorship, no matter a girl’s background and no matter how far away she lives.”

The competition’s 2016 winner Melinda Mees said the initiative “changed my life”.

“It gave me the courage to become someone I never thought I could be,” she said.

The winners will also participate in mentoring sessions and access to Country to Canberra’s alumni network.

Elise Toyer of Batemans Bay was one of the NSW finalists in the Country to Canberra competition last year.

“I entered the Country to Canberra’s leadership competition because I saw the opportunities it gives to the young women who are fortunate enough to attend,” Ms Toyer wrote in her competition bio.

“It gives us the opportunity to make our voices heard and that’s why I entered.”

She also wrote she hoped to listen and learn from the stories of other girls and get their perspective on important issues.

“I also hope to engage in discussion with and learn from the leaders who are at the forefront of change in our country,” her bio read.

Entries close September 8, 2017. Visit countrytocanberra.com.au for  information.