Minister for Racing Denis Napthine congratulated Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers as they graduated from the Darley Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Leadership Scholarship Program at Darley Australasia's thoroughbred stud in Seymour today.
Dr Napthine said the scholarship program was made possible through the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) Volunteer Promotion and Development Fund, which was established by the collaborative support of international racehorse breeding organisation Darley, Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC).
"This course provides graduates with a nationally recognised certificate in frontline management, which will directly benefit their future careers and their roles as CFA volunteers," Dr Napthine said.
"Through the program, graduates have developed skills in leadership, decision making, planning, team effectiveness, presentation, project management, community engagement and safety and risk management skills," Dr Napthine said.
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ford said the partnerships behind the scholarship program will be making a difference for generations to come.
"The Darley VFBV Volunteer Leadership Program is an investment in the professionalism of volunteer leaders that will benefit VFBV, CFA, the participants' own careers and the communities they protect as CFA volunteers," Mr Ford said.
"More volunteers will be offered a place in 2013, and we intend to take the scholarship program into the future with hundreds to be trained over the coming years, influencing a generation of Victorians."
Dr Napthine said racing played a key role in regional and rural Victoria, employing thousands of people delivering millions of dollars into local communities.
"It is fantastic to see internationally successful racing and breeding organisations such as Darley continue this positive relationship with country Victoria by supporting the hard-working and dedicated volunteers who are crucial to their local communities," Dr Napthine said.
"The Victorian Coalition Government supports the state's 90,000 emergency services volunteers who are fundamental to Victoria's ability to prepare and respond to emergencies.
"We have allocated an additional $57 million to emergency services in the 2012-13 Budget, including $22.9 million to build or upgrade rural fire stations across the state. Direct investment in our Country Fire Authority volunteer leaders of the future will bring benefits that will last a lifetime," Dr Napthine said.